The month in MOTOR SPORT

The month in MOTOR SPORT

MARCH

18: Benetton reports that JJ Lehto will not be fit to race in the Brazilian GP. los Verstappen will deputise.

18: Arguments about TV coverage of World Championship rallying continue after a meeting between team principals, manufacturers and broadcasters fails to produce entirely positive solutions.

20: In the wake of Alain Prost's definitive decision to retire from Fl, Martin Brundle jumps on a 'plane to Brazil to drive for McLaren in the season's opening GP.

20:Michael Andretti (below) gives Reynard's 941 a winning start in Surfers Paradise. Nigel Mansell qualifies on pole, but is only ninth after a troubled race.

20:For the third consecutive year, Ross Cheever wins the opening round of the Japanese F3000 series at Suzuka. In his first F3 start, 21 year-old Ryoh Michigami wins the main support race.

20:The Nissan 300 ZX of Steve Millen/ Johnny O'Connell/John Morton wins the Sebring 12 Hours. The WSC Spice of Britons Derek Bell/Andy Wallace/James Weaver is a class-winning second, five laps in arrears.

20: Liam O'Callaghan/James O'Brien (Sierra Cosworth) win the West Cork Rally.

21: Mazda confirms that Roger Dowson will run a brace of Xedos 6s in the BTCC, for David Leslie and Matthew Neal. Toyota, meanwhile, will run a third works car at 'most' races, for Tim Sugden.

2/:The BRSCC indicates that Philippe Adams has finally been confirmed as 1993 British F2 champion. The first round of the 1994 series, at Oulton Park, however, has been cancelled, due to lack of entries. The series is still expected to go ahead, thanks to newly-received sponsorship from the Venson Group.

21: In European F3000, French preparation company Danielson confirms that it will run Reynards for Nicholas Leboisettier and Jerome Policand, while Omegaland becomes the second team to commit to the new Lola 194/50. Formula Vauxhall Euroseries champion Patrick Crinelli will drive for the latter.

22: The Nissan BTCC team lands Old Spice as a major sponsor; Tiff Needell will drive a third Primera, alongside Kieth O'dor and Eric van de Poele, at selected events.. 24rMax Mosley hints that major changes to the World Rally Championship lie around the corner, in a bid to encourage a greater

number of competitive cars to take part.

27: Michael Schumacher is the first victor in Formula One's new gizmo-free age. The Benetton driver beats Ayrton Senna fair and square in front of the latter's home crowd. Damon Hill finishes second, a lap in arrears, after Senna spins off. The main talking point of the afternoon is a huge accident for which Eddie Irvine is blamed by the FIA. He receives a $10,000 fine and a one-race suspension, against which he appeals.

27: Dario Franchitti (bottom) wins the opening round of the British F3 series, at Silverstone. Italy's championship also commences, Giannantonio Pacchioni taking two victories at Vallelunga.

27: Dale Earnhardt takes his first NASCAR victory in 16 starts, at Darlington. Mark Martin wins the supporting IROC event.

27:Stephen Finlay/Dessie Wilson (Escort Cosworth, below left) win the Vauxhall Rally of Wales. The sister car of Malcolm Wilson had led initially, but the Cumbrian's run of misfortune continued when his fuel pump seized early on. David Llewellin wins the Formula Two category, as expected. An interested visitor is Frans Thevelin, clerk of the course of Belgium's 24 Hours of Ypres. He'd like to see his event added to the British Championship calendar.

28:It is confirmed that the 1995 IndyCar series will start on a revised version of the Miami street circuit.

28: Volvo's BTCC contender, the 850 estate (below right), is shaken down at Snetterton.

28:Racing for Britain announces that its supported drivers in 1994 will be Warren Hughes and Jamie Spence.

28: Madgwick International returns to European F3000. Drivers will be Kenny Brack and Mikke van Hool.

28:1VR is tight-lipped about rumours that Nigel Mansell will race a Tuscan at some stage this year. 31: lean Alesi is badly shaken in a testing accident at Mugello. Subsequent checks reveal that he has sustained vertebral damage, which will force him to miss the forthcoming Pacific GP at TI. Nicola Larini is called in to replace him. Alesi is expected to return to the cockpit in time for the San Marino GP,

APRIL

3: Massimiliano Papis fills one of the few remaining European F3000 seats when he joins Mythos. The championship calendar has received a boost, meanwhile, with confirmation of a Spanish GP support race at Barcelona.

4: Gabriele Tarquini wins the BTCC opener at Thruxton. The Hampshire circuit is clogged by traffic. Estimates suggest a crowd of around 20,000 inside the circuit, and a further 5000 stuck outside. John Cleland finishes second and Jo Winkelhock third, the latter being promoted after Giampiero Simoni was penalised for careless driving. Alfa's number two had tipped Paul Radisich into a spin with five laps to go. lames Kaye (Toyota Carina) wins the Total Cup for privateers.

4:Major league motor racing kicks off in France. Highlights of the traditional Nogaro Easter meeting are a maiden F3 win for highly rated Formula Renault graduate David Dussau, and an aggregate touring car victory for Yannick Dalmas's Peugeot 405.

Less predictably, Ian Duncan is the successful driver. TTE says that it will probably contest the event in 1995, too, even though it is scheduled to lose its World Championship status thanks to the FIA's rota system.

4: Stephen Finlay and Dessie Wilson's magnificent start to the year continues, with victory on the Circuit of Ireland. 4:Heavy snow at Mallory Park forces the BRSCC to resort to a lottery to decide grid

positions!

4:Denis Biggerstaff (Metro 6R4) wins the second round of the British Rallycross Championship, at Croft.

5: After two failed attempts to qualify for NASCAR races, Danny Sullivan steps down from his limited programme with John Porter's new team.

6: Eddie Irvine's appeal, against the punishment meted out to him in the wake of the Brazilian GP, is heard in Paris. The F1A drops the S10,000 fine originally imposed, but having studied the video evidence decides to increase his suspension from one race to three. Aguri Suzuki is subsequently recruited to deputise in the Pacific GP.

6: Benetton announces that Jos Verstappen will continue to race in JJ Lehto's place at the Pacific GP. The Finn is expected to be fully race fit again for round three of the World Championship, in Imola.

7: In the first major European F3000 test of the year, at Barcelona, Franck Lagorce sets the pace in his Apomatox Reynard, 0.02s faster than lord' Gene's Nordic Lola.

8:Francois Delecour's WRC hopes are effectively ended when the Frenchman suffers serious leg injuries in a road accident near his home in Lille. He is expected to miss at least three World Championship events as a result. 0: Jan Magnussen maintains PSR's winning record in the British F3 Championship, at Donington. The Dane and his Scottish

team-mate Dario Franchitti share the series lead.

10: Emerson Fittipaldi wins CART's first oval race of the year, beating Penske team-mate Al Unser Jnr at Phoenix. Nigel Mansell leads early on, and then recovers from a fluffed pit stop to finish third. The race is delayed by a massive accident, during which Hiro Matsushita's stricken Lola is struck amidships, at enormous speed, by Jacques Villeneuve's Reynard. The Lola is split clean in two, but miraculously there are no serious injuries. /0:The Phoenix paddock is alive with rumours that Ilmor has a new engine designed especially for Indianapolis, with an estimated output of over 1000 bhp. Conven

tional Indy engines are said to yield around 730 . . . Ilmor denies the story.

10: Andrew Gilbert-Scott wins the second round of the Japanese F3000 series at Fuji. Ross Cheever's third place gives him a four-point cushion in the championship. Shinji Nakano pips Richard Dean in the F3 support race.

/0:Alessandro Nannini (Alfa Romeo 155) wins both GTCC heats at Zolder. Briton Andy Wallace is a surprise debutant in the series, having clinched a late deal to drive a SchObel Alfa 155. Alfa is also successful on home soil, Antonio Tamburini bagging a brace of wins as the ITCC opens at Monza.

10: Canada's Greg Moore wins the opening Indy Lights race at Phoenix. Steve Robertson finishes second.

/0:Giancarlo Fisichella wins both Italian F3 rounds at Enna. The equivalent German series starts late at Zolder, when snow causes the cancellation of race one (after three aborted starts). Jorg Muller wins part two.

10: The second BPRO GT race takes place at Jarama. The Porsche 911 of Jean-Pierre larier, Dominique Dupuy and Jesus Pareja finishes two laps clear of the RSR of class-winning Britons Ray Bellm and Harry Nut tall.

/0: Dale Earnhardt scores a second straight NASCAR victory, at Bristol.

/0:Snow shortens the Anderson Cars Renault (ne Granite City) Rally. Donald Milne/Bob Wilson (Metro 6R4) triumph. 10: Promising young Briton James

Matthews wins both Formula Renault Eurocup races in Barcelona. tt: Eddie Jordan confirms that he has signed Kelvin Burt as his chief test driver. The British F3 champion could replace the

suspended Eddie Irvine in the San Marino and Monaco Grands Prix.

11: Jimmy and Alister McRae are tipped to drive a pair of MSD Calibras in the Rally of Indonesia.

/1:Allan McNish confirms that he has signed to race a Middlebridge Lola in the European F3000 series.

12: More good news for Scotland: David Coulthard's presence in European F3000 is also confirmed. Coulthard joins Vortex Motorsport. Less clear is the situation of Oliver Gavin, whose chances of competing in the series appear slender.

Left, British F3 champion Kelvin Burt and Eddie Jordan announce their new Fl testing deal.