The month in Motor Sport

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March
16: The British Touring Car Championship secures major sponsorship from Auto Trader magazine.

16: Peter Warr is replaced as secretary of the BRDC. John Fitzpatrick takes his place.

18: RSA’s World Council exonerates Alain Prost. Initially accused of having brought the sport into disrepute via remarks he allegedly made to a French magazine, Prost is absolved of any blame. It had been feared that the World Championship leader of the moment might receive a temporary suspension from F1; had that arisen, Prost had made it quite clear that he would walk away from the sport for good. “The matter is now finished,” asserts FISA president Max Mosley.

18: In addition to clearing Prost, FISA’s World Council announces several other decisions: a revised F1 qualifying procedure is rubber-stamped, as are impending bans on driver aids and telemetry; the Fondmetal and Brabham teams are sanctioned for failing to complete the 1992 season; Formula 3000 is to continue, with cost-controlling measures imposed (see seasonal preview, pages 416-418); technological limitations are also imposed upon F3, in the interests of long-term thrift and stability; finally, there will be a European Touring Car shoot-out at Monza on October 17, to which the leading saloon racers from the major European domestic series will be invited.

18: FISA fines Toyota Team Europe $300,000 for the illegal servicing incident surrounding Didier Auriol on the Swedish Rally. The manufacturer will not, however, be docked championship points.

19: Nigel Mansell is fastest in the first official qualifying session of the IndyCar season, at Surfers Paradise. Further ahead in the IndyCar firmament, Honda has announced that it is to embark upon a test programme with Rahal/Hogan Racing.

19: Derek Warwick tests the new Footwork FA14 for a second time, but is thwarted by transmission problems. During his first run in the car, a couple of weeks earlier, Warwick had been pitched into a roll when a driveshaft pulled out and destroyed the suspension.

21: Nigel Mansell (below) becomes the first IndyCar debutant to win a race from pole position. Mansell’s Lola runs out of fuel as he crosses the line, a few seconds before Emerson Fittipaldi and Robbie Gordon hove into view.

21: The British F3 season commences at Silverstone. Kelvin Burt (right) leads home Paul Evans in a Paul Stewart Racing 1-2, but is then disqualified for having nudged poleman, and erstwhile race leader, Andre Ribeiro into a spin. PSR appeals and Burt is later reinstated, albeit with a £150 fine and a licence endorsement. Ribeiro recovers to finish third.

21: Richard Burns/Robert Reid (Subaru Legacy) win the Vauxhall Rally of Wales, opening round of the British Rally Championship. Team-mates Alister McRae/David Senior complete a 1-2 for the team. David Llewellin/lan Grindrod take their Vauxhall Astra to sixth place overall, winning the F2 section.

21: Toyota wins the Sebring 12 Hours, courtesy of Juan-Manuel Fangio II and Andy Wallace. Elsewhere in the States, Morgan Shepherd takes NASCAR honours at Atlanta.

21: Ross Cheever wins the opening round of the Japanese F3000 series at Suzuka, giving the Reynard 93D a winning debut. The ’92 Lolas of Kazuyoshi Hoshino and Eddie Irvine complete the top three. Tom Kristensen takes the supporting F3 race, as TOM’S chassis finish 1-2-3-4.

21: The BMW 318is of Roberto Ravaglia and Johnny Cecotto dominate the opening two rounds of the Italian Touring Car Championship, at Monza.

22: FISA suspends its proposed World Cup for CrossCountry Rallies, just a month before the first scheduled event.

22: David Coulthard is close to signing to drive for Pacific Racing in the European F3000 Championship. However, Frenchman Laurent Aiello, formerly a front-runner in the formula, has committed himself to a touring car programme with BMW in his homeland.

23: JaguarSport announces a one-make series for the XJ220C in the USA. Eligible competitors will be former motor racing champions… over the age of 50. It will be run by TWR, which announces, simultaneously, that it has postponed its IndyCar project for the time being.

24: Ayrton Senna says that he will drive for McLaren in the Brazilian GP, but stresses that his agreement with the team is being conducted on a race-by-race basis.

24: Bereft of funds, March announces that it is withdrawing from the World F1 Championship.

25: Another new racing formula is announced. Formula Classic is a little different, however. Tom Wheatcroft has commissioned Artec Ltd, of Corby, to prepare a field of cars with styling redolent of the late 1950s. Underneath the antique shapes, however, will be 375 bhp Vauxhall Lotus Carlton running gear… The first prototype is due to be shown to the public during the course of the European GP meeting.

26: The works Ford Mondeos are withdrawn from the opening round of the BTCC, due to lack of development time.

27: There are several intriguing rumours at Interlagos, where Nelson Piquet, still recovering from the leg injuries he sustained at Indianapolis is an interested spectator. One suggests that F1 might adopt a 2.5-litre V6 formula by 1997, if not earlier, and another that McLaren is gearing up to build its own engines in the future.

27: Murray Grierson/Stuart Merry (MG Metro 6R4) win the Granite City Rally, initial leader Stephen Finlay having been penalised heavily after co-driver Dessie Wilson booked in early at a time control.

27: Porsche 911s take the top seven positions on the Charrington’s RAC Historic Rally. Ake Andersson and Lars Thorell triumph as all-Scandinavian crews monopolise

28: Alain Prost leads the Brazilian GP until slithering out of the race shortly after Interlagos is hit by a cloudburst. Prost’s departure leaves Damon Hill in the lead of a GP for the first time, but the Williams driver eventually has to cede to Ayrton Senna, inevitable master of the tricky conditions. Despite taking the World Championship lead, there is still no guarantee that Senna will continue to race for McLaren, for whom this was a 100th Grand Prix triumph. It’s a good day for the UK, too: in addition to second-placed Hill, Johnny Herbert and Mark Blundell are also in the points.

28: The British Touring Car Championship commences in front of a huge crowd at Silverstone. The top 14 cars are covered by just one second in qualifying. The Schnitzer BMWs of Steve Soper and Joachim Winkelhock finish 1-2; there are seven different manufacturers in the top 10.

28: Dale Earnhardt takes NASCAR honours at Darlington.

28: Guillaume Gomez heads the train of Fiat-engined Dallaras which dominate the opening round of the French F3 series at Ledenon.

29: Despite the apparent availability of a suitable budget, Ford Motorsport says it is almost certain not to contest the Rally of Argentina.

31: Reigning NASCAR champion Alan Kulwicki is killed when his light ‘plane crashes as he is on his way to the following weekend’s race at Bristol. He is the second American racer to die in an air crash within 24 hours. Former IMSA regular Chip Mead perished in similar fashion one day beforehand.

31: The French press speculates that Ferrari covets the services of Peugeot team manager Jean Todt. Todt says that his prime objective is to take Peugeot into F1. As yet, PSA chief Jacques Calvet has still to give the green light to any such project.

April
1: The European F3000 field takes further shape. Jan Lammers and Eric Angelvy sign for II Barone Rampante; David Coulthard and Michael Bartels are confirmed at Pacific.

2: Nelson Piquet (above) reveals that he hopes to try and tackle the Indianapolis 500 again this year. The Brazilian will drive for Team Menard, with whom he has settled his differences after his shattering accident during qualifying for the 1992 event.

2: Ivan Capelli becomes the first casualty of the F1 season, the Italian parting with Jordan after only two Grands Prix, for one of which he had failed to qualify. Two days later, Jordan announces that Thierry Boutsen will take Capelli’s place for the rest of the season.

3: A two-day festival celebrating the life of Jim Clark commences in Duns, Berwickshire (see page 413).

3: Nigel Mansell crashes during practice for the Valvoline 200 at Phoenix. Concussed by the 170 mph impact, the Englishman is transferred by helicopter to hospital, where he is detained overnight for observation. Although swiftly released the following morning, Mansell is prevented by CART regulations from starting the race. At the time of the accident, he had been fastest man on the track.

4: Mario Andretti takes his first CART win in 73 races. At Phoenix, he becomes the only IndyCar driver to have taken race victories in four different decades. Paul Tracy and Emerson Fittipaldi both crash out while leading, leaving Andretti one lap clear of the field. Nigel Mansell watches the event on TV, from his home in Florida.

4: Marc Goossens scores his first F3 victory in the second round of the British Championship, at Thruxton. Like first round winner Kelvin Burt, Goossens finds himself temporarily excluded from the results after an incident with Andre Ribeiro. Burt finishes second, but the star of the show is Warren Hughes. Debuting the Dallara F393-Fiat which is new to Britain, Hughes starts 21st after suffering gearbox problems in qualifying. In the race, he storms to sixth place, setting a fastest lap which is 0.2s beneath Goossens’ pole position time.

4: Alfa Romeo dominates the opening rounds of the GTCC at Zolder. Nicola Larini heads home Christian Danner in both races.

4: The opening round of the Indy Lights series, at Phoenix, is marred by teething problems with the new Lola T93/20 chassis and a series of tyre failures. Sandy Brody wins after Bryan Herta suffers a deflation with two laps to go!

4: The national F3 series of Germany and Italy commence. Michael Krumm (Dallara-Opel) wins both races at Zolder; Frederico Gemmo (Dallara-Fiat) triumphs at Misano.

4: Rusty Wallace wins the NASCAR race at Bristol. He goes around the circuit the wrong way on his victory lap, in tribute to the late Alan Kulwicki, who had made such a celebration his trademark.

4: John Price maintains his 100 per cent record in the Demon Tweeks/Motoring News National Tarmac Rally Series, winning the Tour of Cornwall.

5: Robs Lamplough, who acquired the unraced Allard J2X through a Coys auction, agrees to lease the car out for the Le Mans 24 Hours. It will be one of an expected 64-car field. On a duller note for the future of sports car racing, the scheduled International GT event at Silverstone on May 9 is cancelled due to shortage of entries.

5: In the wake of adverse publicity created by the collapse of the Brabham F1 team, the Brabham family says that it will no longer allow the name to be used without direct supervision from the Brabham clan.

5: Santa Pod announces plans to add a racing circuit to its existing drag strip.

7: Peugeot says that it will not be entering Formula 1 in 1994. Insiders hint that an eventual F1 programme is still a possibility, albeit remote.

8: Andy Rouse’s Ford Mondeos take part in an open BTCC practice session at Donington, but are withdrawn from Sunday’s race.

8: Perry McCarthy (below) tests for Williams at Silverstone. The Englishman evaluates the team’s ABS system in greasy conditions.

10: Jan Magnussen, winner of the first round of the British Formula Vauxhall Championship, repeats the trick in the Euroseries opener at Donington. In the second round, the following morning, the Dane recovers from a fluffed start to finish second to Dino Morelli.

11: After a storming opening lap, in which he progressed from fifth to first, Ayrton Senna masters continually changing conditions to win Donington Park’s first F1 World Championship race by almost a lap. Damon Hill is the only other driver to go the full distance. His F1 dream realised, Donington owner Tom Wheatcroft stresses that he’ll be pushing ahead with his plans for an oval circuit at an unspecified site in the Midlands. Wheatcroft ardently hopes to bring NASCAR and IndyCar racing to the UK.

11: In torrential conditions, the Renault 19s of Tim Harvey (below) and Alain Menu dominate the second round of the BTCC… from 14th and eighth positions on the grid, respectively. Steve Soper finishes third, and thus retains his championship lead.

11: Veteran Kazuyoshi Hoshino takes his Lola T92/50 to victory in the second round of the Japanese F3000 series at Fuji.

11: The French Supertourisme series kicks off at Nogaro, with a brace of victories for Frank Biela’s Audi. On the same programme, Didier Cottaz (Dallara-Fiat) scores his first F3 victory.

12: A paltry field of 10 cars greets the opening of the British F2 series at Oulton Park. Philippe Adams makes up for a practice mishap by scoring an accomplished victory in his Madgwick Reynard

13: Toyota scoops the first four positions on the Safari Rally. Juha Kankkunen heads the rout, from Markku Alén and Ian Duncan (full report next month).

13: Austin McHale/Dermot O’Gorman (Toyota Celica ) win the Circuit of Ireland.

13: The European F3000 Championship entry assumes its final shape. Last-minute deals, concluded too late for inclusion in this month’s preview (page 416), see Vittorio Zoboli (IBR), Giuseppe Bugatti (European Technique), Peter Olsson (Nordic), Hilton Cowie (ACE), Vincenzo Sospiri (Mythos), Mikke van Hool and Andrea Gilardi (Morello) are nominated in the starting line-up. 33 cars are expected for the opening race at Donington.

14: Disappointed with form in the first three Grands Prix of the season, Scuderia Italia personnel meet with chassis supplier Lola to discuss the future. A brand new car is already being mooted. Elsewhere, Lola is busy testing its T93/50 F3000 chassis in European Championship specification for the first time. Jean-Marc Gounon shakes the car down at Snetterton.