The month in Motor Sport

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Sep 12: John Gray takes his second successive outright victory in the Brighton Speed Trials, reaching 181 mph in his MPA-Judd V10. Bob Burrell triumphs in the Vintage & Historic section, at a more sedate, but worthy nonetheless, 126 mph.

Sep I5: Damon Hill shakes down the new Williams FW15 at Silverstone, setting encouraging lap times.

Sep 16: Japanese F3 champion Anthony Reid escapes uninjured from a huge testing accident at Fuji, during which his crash helmet flies off. The Scot was trying out an F3000 Lola, in preparation for next season.

Sep 17: Egged on by The Sun, running its own ‘Save our Nige’ campaign, Nigel Mansell fans gather outside the Williams F1 factory to express their disapproval of the team’s failure to retain their hero’s services for 1993. Few turn up, and the small crowd even includes dissenters registering their approval of Williams’ decision, and waving banners urging the team to sign Ayrton Senna!

Sep 17: Derek Warwick concludes a two-day lndycar test with the Hall/VDS team. The SWC champion impresses the team with his speed at Mid-Ohio.

Sep 17: The British Rallycross Drivers’ Association makes it known that it disapproves of Brands Hatch Circuits’ 1993 grading system. It could spell the end of the sport at Brands.

Sep 18: Nigel Mansell announces that he is to race lndycars in 1993. The reigning world champion signs to drive a Lola-Cosworth for Newman-Haas.

Sep 18: Brabham confirms that it has officially withdrawn from the World Championship.

Sep 20: Despite trials and tribulations in the weeks leading up to the race, following the arrest of erstwhile team principal Vic Lee, Tim Harvey continues his run of BTCC victories for BMW. Aided by team-mate Steve Soper, Harvey storms through from 11th on the grid at Donington Park. The result leaves the top three drivers in the series separated by just four points, with only one race to go.

Sep 20: Kelvin Burt takes British F3 honours at Donington. Teenage prospect Paul Evans wraps up the class B title. Across the channel, the titanic struggle for the German F3 crown continues, Pedro Lamy and Marco Werner taking a win apiece at the Nurburgring. At the same meeting, GTCC spoils go to Mercedes, courtesy of Bernd Schneider and Klaus Ludwig.

Sep 20: Ricky Rudd wins an incident-packed NASCAR round at Dover Downs.

Sep 20: Russell Spence’s Formula Atlantic title aspirations take a further battering in Canada, as an incident with a backmarker pitches him off the road whilst he’s lying second. The Yorkshireman is lucky to escape with nothing worse than bruising; David Empringham wins.

Sep 20: A sixth place in one of two races at Zolder is enough to seal the GM Vauxhall Lotus Euroseries title for Gareth Rees. Promising Dutchman Jos Verstappen dominates both events.

Sep 21: Despite continuing uncertainty in Europe, the organisers of the Ivory Coast Rally insist that it will go ahead as planned.

Sep 21: At the launch of a new book about him, In London, Nigel Mansell reveals that Williams’ commercial director Sheridan Thynne resigned from his position during the Hungarian GP weekend, when it became clear that an offer made to Mansell for the 1993 season had been withdrawn by the team.

Sep 22: Didier Auriol edges closer to becoming France’s first world rally champion, securing his sixth victory of the year on the Rally Australia. Main rival Carlos Sainz is beaten into third place by Auriol’s Lancia team-mate — and reigning title-holder — Juha Kankkunen.

Sep 25: Having already terminated its world rally programme, Nissan Motorsports Europe halves its remaining workforce.

Sep 26: Third place on the Rallycar Forest Stages is enough to clinch the Mintex National Challenge for Richard Burns. Bill Barton wins the event.

Sep 27: To nobody’s great surprise, Williams confirms that Alain Prost will be part of its Fl line-up in 1993. His team-mate’s identity remains a secret. The rumour-mill is still in warp drive. Will McLaren get Renault engines? Will Derek Warwick sign for Footwork? Will Riccardo Patrese’s Benetton deal collapse, enabling him to return to Williams? In that eventuality, will Al Unser Jnr sign for Benetton? Are Michele Alboreto and F3000 sensation Luca Badoer destined to drive Scuderia Italia’s Lola-Ferraris? Will Honda be back with its own car in 1994?

Sep 27: Starting from pole position, Nigel Mansell utterly dominates the Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril. Team-mate Riccardo Patrese is fortunate to escape without injury from a huge accident, after a brush with eventual runner-up Gerhard Berger. Earlier, the supporting Vauxhall Lotus Euroseries race fell to Swiss hopeful Christian Fischer.

Sep 27: After the Portuguese GP, third-placed finisher Ayrton Senna accuses Alain Prost of “being a coward”, for insisting that his Williams contract should include a clause preventing the team from signing the Brazilian. Senna, who once refused to accept Derek Warwick as a team-mate at Lotus, says it’s a bit like Prost “wanting to race a 100-metre sprint with running shoes, while everyone else is forced to wear lead boots”.

Sep 27: British F3 champion Gil de Ferran drives brilliantly at Thruxton, fending off Kelvin Burt to take his sixth win of the year. Burt races under a cloud, facing the loss of 18 championship points after a sample of fuel, taken at Pembrey, was found not to conform on the grounds of excess lead content. The Fortec team accepts that the sample was not acceptable, but points out that the punishment does not fit the crime, and that Kelvin had done nothing wrong himself. The extra lead conferred no performance advantage, but resulted from human error. F3 teams often test with such leaded fuel, to prevent engine detonation, and rinse the tank before race meetings. Fortec explains that someone had either forgotten to cleanse the tank properly, or had else simply filled the car from the wrong churn on race day. An appeal is lodged on behalf of the driver, who has already signed to continue with Fortec in 1993.

Sep 27: Roland Ratzenberger heads a Lola clean-sweep in the ninth round of the Japanese F3000 series, at Suzuka. Rickard Rydell wins the supporting F3 race. Nearer home, Jules Boullion takes French F3 honours at Le Mans. Fourth place gives Franck Lagorce the series lead.

Sep 27: Dennis Biggerstaff finishes second at Croft, to clinch the British rallycross crown.

Sep 28: The Goody’s 500 NASCAR race takes place on a Monday, having been delayed by rain. Geoff Bodine wins.

Sep 28: It seems increasingly likely that Didier Auriol will drive for Toyota in the 1993 WRC, which strengthens the probability of Lancia’s complete withdrawal from rallying.

Sep 29: Gianni Agnelli, chairman of Fiat, announces that he is to step down in 1994.

Sep 29: It is announced that Aldershot Stadium, a bastion of stock car racing since 1954, will hold its final meeting on November 21. Thereafter, the track will close down to make way for a new road.

Oct 1: Three days of F1 testing concludes at Estoril. Alain Prost tries a Williams for the first time, and is fastest driver running to 1992 specification. Goodyear runs its 1993-spec 15in tyres. Damon Hill, on duty for Williams, is quickest on the narrower rubber, swifter even than Prost… Amongst the interesting combinations on view are Derek Warwick (Footwork), Jan Lammers (March), Giovanni Lavaggi (March), Luca Badoer (Dallara) and Diogo Castro Santos (Jordan).

Oct 1: Renault confirms that it will run in the 1993 BTCC. GB Motorsport is entrusted with the programme. Robin Herd and John Miles are recruited to assist with development.

Oct 1: After another shake-up at Silverstone. Innes Ireland is voted in as head of a completely fresh board of directors at the BRDC.

Oct 2: Ferrari recruits Nicola Larini to replace Ivan Capelli for the final two Grands Prix.

Oct 4: Tim Harvey clinches the BTCC crown at Silverstone. Fourth place suffices for the BMW driver, after team-mate Steve Soper knocks Harvey’s title rival John Cleland off the track with a couple of laps to go. The incident is highly controversial. At the time, Cleland was lying fifth… and on course to take the title. No action is taken by the stewards, who had earlier suspended national Formula Ford champion Jamie Spence for three months, after an unseemly accident in the Rapid Fit Championship finale. Almost unnoticed, Andy Rouse wins the touring car race for Toyota . . . and hints that he is considering retirement. Oct 4: Also at Silverstone, Piers Hunnisett is crowned Formula Vauxhall Lotus champion and Gil de Ferran takes an easy win in the final round of the British F3 Championship, ahead of Racing for Britain’s Kelvin Burt and Warren Hughes. Max Angelelli clinches the Italian F3 series at Vallelunga, by finishing third to Max Papis and Vincenzo Sospiri.

Oct 4: Denny Hulme succumbs to a massive heart attack while competing at Bathurst (see Appreciation, page 1021). The race continues in his honour, but is eventually curtailed by violent rainstorms. The Nissan of Jim Richards and Mark Skaife is declared the winner. Skaife departs immediately for Europe, where he is to replace the financially challenged Allan McNish in Mike Earle’s F3000 team for the last two rounds of the championship.

Oct 4: Bobby Rahal improves his Indycar title aspirations with victory at Nazareth. Support race victories go to Harald Huysman (Formula Atlantic) and Robbie Buhl (Indy Lights). Buhl secures an unassailable series lead.

Oct 4: Alessandro Nannini and Roberto Ravaglia take a win apiece in the ITCC at Varano. Nicola Larini bags a brace of second places to maintain his championship lead.

Oct 4: Juan-Manuel Fangio gives Toyota another IMSA win at Phoenix.

Oct S: Mitsubishi signs Armin Schwarz for its 1993 WRC programme.

Oct S: Although the general feeling is that Lancia will withdraw from rallying altogether, rumours in Italy suggest that The Jolly Club may still run a Delta Integrale for Juha Kankkunen in ’93. Markku Alen is also expected to run with the Italian team.

Oct 6: With test driver Alessandro Zanardi taken ill, Benetton recruits Perry McCarthy to do three days’ work at Silverstone. In France, Eric Bernard accrues his first F1 mileage since his accident at Suzuka last year. Bernard runs with Ligier at Magny-Cours.

Oct 6: Geoff Bodine wins NASCAR’s second consecutive Monday race, at North Wilkesboro. Torrential rain had caused the postponement of Sunday’s event.

Oct 7: FISA axes the SWC (see Cotton On, page 1041). At the same plenary meeting, Max Mosley is re-elected as president of FISA for a further four years.

Oct 7: Martin Brundle is told by Frank Williams that his services will not be required in 1993. The latest F1 rumour is that Jean Alesi will be released by Ferrari to join Prost at Williams, paving the way for Ferrari to buy out Nigel Mansell’s Indycar contract with Carl Haas. Enquiries are met with the usual denials all round.

Oct 8: Brabham’s assets are taken over by a group headed by Alan Randall, the man whose grandiose plans to run a multi-car Jaguar Group C team failed earlier in the year. He plans to have the famous marque up and running again by the start of the 1993 season. Mexican Carlos Guerrero is nominated as one driver.

Oct 9: Informed rumours hint that Fiat might enter the 1993 BTCC, with Prodrive.

Oct 10: Mark Wagstaff (Vauxhall Astra) is the surprise winner of the Tour of Mull.

Oct 10: TOCA says that there will be a full investigation into driving standards during the BTCC finale. The enquiry will make full use of available TV footage.

Oct 11: Luca Badoer dominates the penultimate round of the European F3000 Championship, at Nogaro. With closest rival Andrea Monte; mini only fourth, behind Jean-Marc Gounon and David Coulthard, Badoer is assured of the championship title.

Oct 11: A misunderstanding over pace car regulations costs Yvan Muller victory in the British F2 finale at Donington Park. Series debutant Massimo Monti wins.

Oct I11: Germany’s national racing championships are wrapped up at Hockenheim. Roberto Ravaglia wins both GTCC races for BMW, but Mercedes-Benz’s Klaus Ludwig is champion. Portugual’s Pedro Lamy takes a brace of wins to clinch the F3 title.

Oct I11: Mark Martin scores his first NASCAR win of the year, at Charlotte. Elsewhere in the USA, it’s PJ Jones’s turn to score an IMSA win for Toyota, in the final round at Del Mar.

Oct 11: Relative unknown Giancarlo Fischichella wins the Italian F3 finale at Imola.

Oct 12: Formula Ford racer lan McArdell dies in Frenchay Hospital, Bristol. The 27 year-old succumbs to massive head injuries, sustained in an accident during the local championship finale at Castle Combe two days beforehand.

Oct 12: Toyota confirms that it has signed Didier Auriol for its 1993 rally programme. Almost simultaneously, the Frenchman’s bid for the 1992 title receives a setback when his Lancia loses a wheel on the very first stage of the Sanremo Rally, forcing his retirement from the event.

Oct 12: Ford confirms that it will run a works Sierra Cosworth for Malcolm Wilson on the RAC Rally. Regular works driver Francois Delecour will not be taking part, due to other commitments.

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