The month in Motor Sport

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April
18: The Environment Bill, which could outlaw motorsport in National Parks (to the considerable detriment of rallying), receives its second reading in the House of Commons. The RACMSA’s John Quenby leads the campaign to alert MPs to the possible consequences of its passing.

20: In the absence of either Williams or Benetton, local team Jordan tops the Formula One testing at Silverstone. Eddie Irvine pips Rubens Barrichello, with Mika Hakkinen’s McLaren a close at hand third. Unemployed GP racer Pedro Lamy has an outing with Arrows, and laps 4.1s faster than team driver Taki Inoue. . .

20: Nigel Mansell, fourth fastest at the Silverstone test for McLaren, says that his decision to miss the South American GPs was vindicated. In doing so, he also warns onlookers not to expect too much in the forthcoming race at Imola.

21: Jerez F1 testing times are topped by Damon Hill’s Williams, some 0.9 clear of World Champion Michael Schumacher.

22: Former Le Mans 24 Hours winner Christophe Bouchut agrees terms with the Kremer team to drive one of the German outfit’s Porsche K8 Spyders in this year’s running of the French classic. He will be teamed with Hans Stück and Thierry Boutsen.

22: Young Scotsman Dario Franchitti, above, stuns the DTM establishment by setting pole position for the first round at Hockenheim on his Touring Car debut. The former Formula Vauxhall Lotus champion edges out AMG Mercedes team-mate Bernd Schneider by 0.01s.

23: Bernd Schneider saves face for the DTM ‘Old Guard’ by winning both races in the Hockenheim opener. Jörg van Ommen’s similar C-Class Merc takes second place, but both Alfa Romeo and Opel are vanquished. Alfa Corse boss Geiorgio Pianta as good as writes off the Italians’ 1995 chances at the post race press conference.

23: It’s better news for Alfa elsewhere. Gabriele Tarquini shares the spoils with Emanuele Pirro’s Audi A4 in the Italian series opener at Misano. At Jarama, the 155TSs of Georgio Francia and Luis Villamil win the two races.

23: Argentina’s Norberto Fontana takes both German F3 Championship races at Hockenheim with his KMS Dallara-Opel. Satoshi Motoyama wins the latest round in Japan in a Dallara-Mugen.

23: The Gulf McLaren of Maurizio Sandro Sala/Ray Bellm continues its successful BPR Endurance GT campaign at the Nürburgring. Despite threats from Ferraris and the Larbre Porsche, Sala/Bellm hand on to win from the Jacadi McLaren of Fabien Giroix/Olivier Grouillard.

23: Helio Castro Neves wins his first British F3 race at Donington. The Brazilian’s PSR Dallara-Mugen overcomes Uruguay’s Gonzalo Rodriguez on the third lap and leads to the finish. Rodriguez ultimately finishes third behind ADR Dallara-Mitsubishi teammate Warren Hughes. Fourth for Oliver Gavin gives him the series lead, as Ralph Firman is eliminated in an incident with Jamie Spence.

23: Crowd favourite Ari Vatanen wins the Pirelli International Rally with his Ford Escort RS Cosworth, comfortably ahead of fellow Escort driver Tomas Abrahamsson. Maximum British championship points on the Welsh event are taken by third-placed Grégoire de Mevius, who leads Nissan Sunny team-mate Alister McRae by just 17s at the close.

23: Emerson Fittipaldi’s Penske, above wins the Indycar round at Nazareth, but there’s heartbreak for Eddie Cheever. Seemingly on his way to his first ever CART win, Eddie’s Lola splutters to a halt two laps from home, out of fuel.

23: Portugal’s Manuel Gião returns from an unsuccessful German F3 sojourn to take the first two round of the Formula Opel Euro-series at Zolder.

23: Jean-Luc Pailler takes the opening European Rallycross round at Horn-Fuglau in Austria, but the event is tarnished when multiple champion Martin Schanche withdraws in protest of circuit safety.

24: Martin Donnelly confirms his intentions to contest the opening round of the new Formula Classic series at Donington on May 7/8. It will be only his second race since his near fatal Spanish GP qualifying accident in 1990.

26: Pacific pilot Andrea Montermini is rushed to hospital for an operation to remove his appendix. Amzaingly, he is fit in time for the San Marino GP’s Friday qualifying session.

28: The Formula One Commission is believed to have discussed the creation of a technical panel which would give a ruling within hours on any incident taking place on the track. The subject of a 17-race calendar was also discussed.

29: At a press conference in Imola, Max Mosley lambasts both Elf and Michael Schumacher for bringing the sport into disrepute in the aftermath of the Brazilian fuel irregularity and drivers’ weigh-in controversies.

29: Minardi announces that it is to take legal action against Mugen and Ligier over its claim to exclusive rights over the Mugen-Honda engine.

29: Elsewhere, Flavio Briatore hits out at criticisms within the French press of his management of Ligier. He is backed up by Max Mosley, who dismissed suggestions that the Magny Cours-based outfit’s JS41 was merely a Benetton copy.

29: TOCA establishes a new Super Touring-type series, the North American Touring Car Championship, which is set to run Stateside from 1996 onwards.

30: Damon Hill takes his 11th GP win in 37 attempts in San Marino, storming to victory for Williams-Renault after early leader Michael Schumacher slams his Benetton into the Piratella tyres on the 10th lap. Jean Alesi and Gerhard Berger give Ferrari a useful 2 – 3 finish ahead of another early pacesetter, Hill’s team-mate David Coulthard, who dropped back after spinning and damaging an endplate at the Villeneuve chicane. Heinz-Harald Frentzen gives Sauber its first point of the season in sixth, while on place ahead, Mika Hakkinen adds another brace to McLaren’s tally, two laps and six positions clear of team debutant Nigel Mansell.

30: Former Minardi F1 pilot Fabrizio Barbazza, above right, is rushed to hospital in a coma after an accident at the Road Atlanta IMSA World Sports Car Championship race. Jeremy Dale, whose Spice ploughed into Barbazza’s stricken Euromotorsports Ferrari 333SP at over 100 mph, is also hospitalised with badly smashed legs.

30: Londoner Richard Westbrook makes light of a soaking Imola as he scorches to a 21-second win in the Formula Opel Euroseries support race at San Marino.

30: the Courage C24 of Bob Wollek/Lionel Robert heads the Le Mans Pre-Qualifying pack after three frantic days. Seven McLarens, three Ferrari F40s and two Jaguar XJ220s make it onto the grid for the June event.

30: Frank Meagher wins the Carling Rally of the Lakes in his Ford Escort Cosworth, taking a decisive Dunlop Tarmac Championship lead in the process.

May

1: A seven-race International Touring Car series for Class One machinery – to be run by the GTCC’s organiser, the ITR – gets the green light from the FIA.

1: The organisers of the first round of the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, the Rally of Indonesia, announce that no fewer than eight manufacturers will be represented at the opening round of this year’s series.

1: Audi sources suggest that the Ingolstadt outfit may enter the BTCC later in the year, prior to a full assault in 1996.

4: Masimiliano Papis, Arrows’s official test driver, gets his first taste of the FA16 with a run on Silverstone’s South Circuit. The Frenchman is just four-tenths slower than Mika Salo’s Tyrrell.

5: Ferrari’s Gerhard Berger tops the testing times at Imola. Michael Schumacher’s Beneton is second fastest.

5: Bruno Thiry loses out on a sensational Tour of Corsica win when his Ford Escort Cosworth suffers a wheel-bearing failure with just two stages remaining. The Belgian’s agony is compounded by the WRC’s new restrictive service regulations as he struggles for 30 minutes to repair the car himself. Calls for servicing to be more flexible subsequently increase. Meanwhile, Toyota’s Didier Auriol takes advantage to score a record-equalling sixth win on the Mediterranean Island.

5: Brazilian Formula Three hotshoe Christian da Matta is quickest at the Brands Hatch FOTA test in a West Surrey Racing Dallara-Mugen.

6: Chrisophe Bouchut is thrown out of the European F3000 opener at Silverstone, when it is claimed that the Frenchman prevents marshals from removing his stranded Reynard from the edge of the track during practice.

7: Ricardo Rosset gives Super Nova its first European F3000 victory, above, with a lights-to-flag success at Silverstone. Vincenzo Sospiri ensures a double celebration for the East Anglian team with a fine second place.

7: Top pic: The GTCC meeting at Avus ends in chaos when a multiple shunt causes the second race to be cancelled. Kurt Thiim wins the first encounter in a Team Zakspeed Mercedes C-Class.

7: German F3 Championship contender Alexander Wurz makes a little bit of history when his Dallara retires from the first face at Avus following a collision with the Safety Car! Argentinian Norberto Fontana increases his lead in the series with two more wins.

7: Arie Luyendyk tops the timesheets during the first weekend of official Indy 500 practice. The Dutchman is quickest on both days, topping 232mph in his Team Menard Lola. Scott Bratyon, his team-mate, is second quickest.

7: At Sears Point NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt scores his first win on a road course and moves back to the top of the Winston Cup table.

7: Tom Kristensen (F3000 Lola-Mugen) and Pedro de la Rosa (F3 Dallara-Toyota) win the All-Japan Championship races a Mine.

7: Emanuele Pirro (Audi A4) and And4rea Boldrini (Dallara-Fiat) increase their leads in the Italian Touring Car and Formula Three championships with double-successes at Binetto and Enna, respectively. Nicolas Minassian wins the French F3 encounter at Magny-Cours.

7: Jon Bennett-Evans’Chris Jones win the Plains Rally in a Ford Escort Coswirth outright, while Ricky Evans/Ian Butcher win the BTRDA Gold Star category in a Peugeot 205 GTI. In Scotland David Gillanders/John Bennie win the Weldex Rally in a Ford Escort Cosworth.

8: Norwegian Bjorn Skogstad is the surprise winner of the second round of the European Rallycross Championship, his Ford Escort Cosworth proving successful at Lousada, Portugal.

8: The West McLaren of John Nielsen and Thomas Bscher wins the BPR GT endurance race at Donington Park, to move into the championship lead. McLarens filled the podium with Pierre-Henri Raphanel and Lindsay Owen-Jones second, with Andy Wallace and Justin Bell claiming third.

8: In the wake of the Road Atlanta accident that left Fabrizio Barbazza and Jeremy Dale gravely injured, Spice threatens to withdraw from the IMSA series if the FIA Group C footbox structures are not adopted by the America-based championship. IMSA reveals that both drivers are now out of danger.

8: Twenty-one year-old James Thompson, above, becomes the youngest winner of a BTCC race when his Vauxhall Cavalier prevails in round six at Thruxton. Alain Menu’s Renault Laguna wins the earlier race to take the lead of the series. The Ford Mondeo of Total Cup privateer Charlie Cox suffers a huge accident, but the Australian escapes with concussion, severe bruising and a damaged eye.

8: Martin Donnelly scores his first win since his horrendous accident during practice for the 1990 Spanish Grand Prix. The Ulsterman is victorious in a Formula Classic race at Donington Park.

10: The four-wheel drive Super Touring Nissan Primera finally runs when Ivan Capelli shakes it down at Donington Park.

11: Reigning Formula Vauxhall champion Owen McAuley tests a F3 Dallara/TOM’S at Snetterton. Rumour has it that the Ulsterman will replace the team’s British F3 incumbant, Jamie Davies.

12: The calendar for the International Touring Car series is eventually finalised; the Nürburgring will host a round of the German Toring Car Championship, not the ITC as anticipated.

13: European F3000 team Super Nova scores its second 1 – 2 in as many as weeks when the Reynard-ACs of Vincenzo Sospiri and Ricardo Rosset romp home at Barcelona. The pair now share the championship lead. Allan McNish starts from pole position, but spins his Paul Steward Racing Reynard-Cosworth out of the lead early on. Ulterman Dino Morelli crashes his Reynard and suffers a broken left foot.

13: Scott Brayton secures pole position for the Indianapolis 500 with a four-lap average of 231.604 mph in a Lola-Menard. His teammate Arie Luyendyk winds up on the middle of the front row, and the Reynard-Honda of Scott Goodyear claims the final spot at the front. After dominating the race last year, the Penskes prove to be off the pace, and the team admits that it will test Lola and Reynard chassis with an eye to the second batch of qualifying runs.

13: Richard Moore/Alun Cook win the Manx National Rally in a Subaru Impreza 555. But fourth place for Stephen Price’s MG Metro 6R$ is enough to keep the youngster at the head of the EARS Motorsport/Motoring News National Tarmac Rally Series.

14: In Spain Michael Schumacher regains his composure and the lead of the Formula One World Championship with a comfortable lights-to-flat victory at Barcelona. Damon Hill cannot match the German’s Benetton, but looks set to take second place until his Williams runs out of petrol on the last lap. This allows Johnny Herbert to score his best Grand Prix finish to date and give Benetton its first 1 – 2 since the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix. Nigel Mansell retires his McLaren early in the race because of handling difficulties, and it is suggested that his Formula One career is staggering to a halt.

14: Emmanuel Collard wins the Porsche Supercup race at Barcelona.

14: A weak entry for the Montlhery BPR GT race means that Mühlbauer Porsche 911 GT2 of Stefan Oberndörfer and Detlef Hübner is able to claim overall victory. Bill Farmer, Paul Edwards and Robert Nearn at second in the Parr Racing 911 GT2.

14: Volvo’s Rickard Rydell re-takes the lead of the BTCC thanks to a win and a second place at Silverstone. Ford move into the winner’s circle when Paul Radisich is victorious in the second race of the day. Vauxhall’s John Cleland celebrates his 110th BTCC start with a third place in the first race.

14: Masanori Sekiya wins both rounds of the All-Japan Touring Car Championship at Sugo, and the Toyota Exiv driver takes the lead of the series. Joachim Winkelhock takes the lead of the ADAC Supertourenwagen Cup when his BMW 318iS pips Hans Stuck’s Audi A4 at Spa. BMW is also successful Down Under with Geoff Brabham and Paul Morris sharing the spoils under the floodlights of Calder Park.

14: Charlie Cox returns home after a six-day stay in hospital following his BTCC Thruxton Shunt, The Australian faces a six-week wait before the doctors take a decision over his racing future.

14: The first-ever two-litre German Formula Renault Championship race – at Spa – is cancelled after just one lap when Eduard van de Kraatz crashes heavily at Eau Rouge. He escapes with relatively minor injuries, but the Armco is damaged beyond repair.

14: Twenty-four of the 25 starters in the Formula Vauxhall race at Silverstone have their licences endorsed because of their behaviour under the yellow flat at Copse Corner.

14: Enrico Bertone and Massimo Chiapponi sweep into the lead of the European Rally Championship when their Toyota Celica Turbo 4DW scores a commanding victory on the Zlatni Rally, Bulgaria.

14: Stephen Murphy’s Ford Escort Cosworth wins the Carlow Stages, but the headlines are stolen by Kenny McKinstry, who scores the best result for a F2 car in Ireland with second place in a Ford Escort RS2000.

14: After a disastrous start to his European Rallycross Championship campaign, Martin Schanche’s Ford Escort RS2000 finally comes good with a victory in the French round of the series.

15: It is revealed that Miki Biasion will return to Lancia when he drives an Astra-prepared Delta Integrale on the Acropolis Rally. The Italian has scored 16 of his 17 World Rally Championship wins with the Turin marque.

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