The month in Motor Sport

August

16: Upon confirmation of his two-year deal with Ferrari, Michael Schumacher promptly touts Damon Hill as favourite for the 1996 title! The German reasons that Williams is still likely to have the best engine/chassis combination — but maintains that this wasn't the kind of challenge he was seeking. Meanwhile, Ferrari's current number one driver, Gerhard Berger, fires a couple of broadsides at Schumacher in the Austrian press, suggesting that he is "dreaming" if he thinks he is going to get special treatment.

19: Keke Rosberg announces his intention to retire from racing at the end of the season. After a trying season running with his own Opel team in the GTCC and ITC, the moustachioed Finn is rumoured to have found an extensive race and test programme combined with his other business interests an unappealing mixture. His place is to be taken by long-time Audi star Frank Biela.

19: After his victory in the Formula Opel Euroseries race at the Nurburgring, both Opel Team Rosberg and Mercedes show interest in acquiring the services of championship leader Jason Watt for Class 1 touring cars.

20: West Surrey Racing's Cristiano da Matta shrugs off disappointing early-season fortunes to net his maiden British F3 victory at OuIton Park. The Brazilian inherits the lead when Ralph Firman (Dallara-Mugen) is handed a 10s penalty for a jumped start, along with TWR/Ligier's Jeremie Dufour. Gualter Salles (Dallara-Mugen) and Warren Hughes (Dallara-Mitsubishi) subsequently fill the other podium positions.

20: Neale Dougan wins the penultimate round of the Scottish Rally Championship, the McRae Motorsport Stages, in his Escort Cosworth. A tactical run to fourth, meanwhile, leaves Chris Wagner (Audi 90) on the verge of the title.

20: Martin Schanche scores his 12th European Rallycross Championship victory at Valkenswaard in Holland with a dominant display in his Escort Cosworth.

20: Bobby Labonte secures his second straight NASCAR win in the Goodwrench 400 at Michigan.

20: Bernd Schneider takes a step closer to the German Touring Car Championship with a double victory at the Nurburgring for Mercedes. Zakspeed's lorg van Ommen is 40 Points adrift, but it seems inconceivable that Schneider will be denied the crown. In the supporting F3 races, Norberto Fontana (Dallara) also manages to secure a brace of successes.

20: Honda scores its first IndyCar victory, at New Hampshire courtesy of Andre Ribeiro and Tasman Motorsports. The Brazilian's Reynard winds up over a lap clear of Michael Andretti (Newman/Haas Lola) and Penske's Al Unser Jnr after dominating proceedings. Fourth place, however, is enough provisionally to give Jacques Villeneuve the 1995 IndyCar title although the young Canadian still awaits the result of Penske's appeal against Unser Jnr's exclusion after his victory at Portland.

21: Sources close to Paul Tracy suggest that the Canadian has signed a four-year, multi-million dollar deal with Penske Racing.

21: Alain Prost arrives at McLaren for a seat fitting, sending the rumour mill into overdrive as to whether he will race for the Woking outfit in 1996. All the Frenchman is prepared to admit to is a series of talks with Ron Dennis with regard to the team's test programme but speculation suggests he may be about to go back on his avowed intent never to race an F1 car again in honour of Ayrton Senna.

21: The Ford works rally team is reported to be in serious negotiation with Carlos Sainz for the 1996 season. The Spaniard seems unlikely to stay with Prodrive, his employer of two years, and has lucrative backing from oil giant Repsol into the bargain.

26: Tommi Makinen/Seppo Harianne score one of the most crushing victories ever seen on the 1000 Lakes Rally, this year reduced to Two-Litre World Championship status. After a suspension failure sees Julia Kankkunen crash his TTE Celica on the first stage, Makinen has no competitive four-wheel drive opposition to speak off, and duly takes his Mitsubishi Lancer to a nine-minute success ahead of Marcus Gronholm's privateer Celica. Jarmo Kytolehto reinforces his reputation with third and two-wheel drive honours in his Tim Ashton-tended Astra. The event is overshadowed by an accident involving course car driver Bruno Thiry in which a spectator is killed.

26: Terry Labonte wins the Goody's 500 NASCAR clash at Bristol Raceway.

26:The Formula 3000 Championship now rests squarely between Super Nova Reynard pilots Vincenzo Sospiri and Ricardo Rosset after the Grand Prix support race. The former wins comfortably, but only after main rival Marc Goossens (Lola) is eliminated in a collision with back-marker James Taylor, while the latter ends up fourth behind Christophe Bouchut and Guillaume Gomez. The only other title threat from Kenny Brack is extinguished when the Swede crashes out on the third lap.

27:A bold gamble to stay on slick tyres in the wet sees Michael Schumacher triumph in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa. However, the World Championship leader's victory is soured by a suspended one-race ban he later receives for what the stewards perceive as overly-aggressive driving whilst trying to keep Damon Hill's wet-shod Williams-Renault behind him on a damp track. Although the Briton eventually gets by, his race is thwarted by an extra stop to change back to slicks when the track dries out, and a subsequent 10-second stop-go penalty. He eventually finishes second, overhauling Martin Brundle (Ligier) in the closing stages. Early leaders Jean Alesi, David Coulthard and Johnny Herbert are all out of luck: Alesi's Ferrari is sidelined by suspension failure, Coulthard the runaway leader by gearbox problems, and Herbert by a couple of spins.

27: Joachim Winkelhock's BMW 318iS storms to victory in both Supertourenwagen races at the Salzburgring, lifting the former BTCC champion to second in the standings behind Frank Biela.

27: The GTC Motorsport McLaren F1 GTR of Ray Bellm/Maurizio Sala/Masanori Sekiya triumphs in the Pokka 1000kms BPR GT Cup race at Suzuka, ahead of the West-backed machine of John Nielsen/Thomas Bscher.

28: Kelvin Burt (Ford) and Will Hoy (Renault) emerge with the spoils from Snetterton's Bank Holiday BTCC double-header, but third place in the second race sees Vauxhall's John Cleland edge closer to his second title. The Peebles man moves into a 52-point series lead after his main rival, Rickard Rydell, fails to score in either race.

28: Ralph Firman dominates both rounds of the British F3 Championship at Brands Hatch, the PSR Dallara pilot storming into a 36-point series lead as second-placed Oliver Gavin (Edenbridge Dallara) could only manage third and fourth. This allows Firman's team-mate Hello Castro Neves to move into second place in the standings.

30: Gerhard Berger shocks Formula One by announcing that he will link up with current Ferrari team-mate Jean Alesi at Benetton in 1996. The news means that Ferrari has to seek a partner for Michael Schumacher – David Coulthard, Rubens Barrichello and Nicola Larini are the favourites.

31: Alain Prost completes 33 laps of Silverstone in a McLaren F1 car. The Frenchman doesn't exert himself, lapping comfortably a couple of seconds off the pace. BTCC star Alain Menu is also given a run with the Williams-Renault team, but the quickest man over the two days is the Didcot concern's regular test driver Jean-Christophe Bouillon.

September

1: Benetton decides not to go ahead with its appeal against Michael Schumacher's suspended one-race ban, incurred during the ill-tempered Belgian GP,

2: Honda says that it will supply engines for Jim Hall Racing and driver Gil de Ferran in lndycar racing next year.

2: Formula Opel Euroseries title rivals Manuel Giao and Jason Watt collide on the pit straight with two laps to go at Zolder. This allows Briton Richard Westbrook to win for the third time this year.

3: Al Unser Jnr wins the penultimate round of the lndycar series at Vancouver, giving himself an outside chance of the title. The Penske-Mercedes man defeats rookie Gil de Ferran, who scores his best result of the season. Points leader Jacques Villeneuve suffers transmission problems and finishes a lowly 12th.

3: Andrew Gilbert-Scott brings his dreadful run of results in the Japanese F3000 Championship to a halt. The Englishman wins at Fuji from ninth on the grid with his Stellar Lola. Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa already confirmed as Japanese F3 Champion continues his domination with his TOM'S Dallara.

3: Eric Helary is dominant in the French Supertourisme counters at Albi with his Opel Vectra, but two third place finishes for Oreca BMW driver Yvan Muller give him the championship. Meanwhile, Laurent Redon takes the French F3 title for the Elf Filiere squad he wins the first race, but crashes out of the second, allowing team-mate Nicolas Minassian a victory.

3: Luca Rangoni knocks Andrea Boldrini off the top of the Italian F3 table with two wins at Binetto. At Enna, Gianni Morbidelli gives BMW its first Superturismo victories of the season.

3: Youngster Jeff Gordon takes his eighth NASCAR Winston Cup career win at Darlington, winning a late-race sprint against Dale Earnhardt and Rusty Wallace.

3: Philippe Bugalski celebrates his second successive victory in the French Rally Championship after taking his Renault Clio Maxi to a win on the Mont Blanc Rally.

4: Arrows confirms that it will run a junior team in next year's Formula 3000 Championship.

4: The FIA releases its Touring Car World Cup entry list. The major omission from the Paul Ricard event is former World and European champion Roberto Ravaglia, who has been having one of his less successful seasons with BMW in the German series. Other surprises include the Austrian team membership of Germany's Hans Stuck!

4: Mitsubishi may well be going the four-wheel-drive kit car route when the World Rally Championship's new regulations come into force in 1997, says Ralliart Europe's Phil Short. The current Lancer E3 is expected to be replaced in the near future anyway.

4: Following his recent second place on the Bohemia Rally, it looks possible that former World Champion Stig Blomqvist could drive a works Skoda on the forthcoming RAC Rally!

8: Despite being wooed by nearly every competitive team in F1. Heinz-Harald Frentzen decides to remain with the Sauber-Ford outfit for 1996. It is thought that Ford's decision to build a V10 engine for next year has played a major part in the German's choice. Other drivers staying put include Rubens Barrichello (Jordan) and Mika Salo (Tyrrell).

8: Niki Lauda, the winner of two World Championships for Ferrari, is to be axed as the Italian concern's F1 consultant. He will be offered a job as Ferrari's ambassador for road car products, but whether he will be interested in that is doubtful.

9: The TWR Volvo BTCC team is given a highest ever £10,000 fine by TOCA for a breach of its Sporting Regulations at the previous Snetterton round. A team spokesman admits that a sticky substance was found on Tim Harvey's 'bumper cam', which prevented a clear view of Harvey's collision with the Renault of Alain Menu.

9: Newman/Haas Racing announces that Christian Fittipaldi will join Michael Andretti in its 1996 lndycar team.

9: Ulsterman Peter Duke provides an upset by vanquishing the Formula Opel Euroserles field at Mondello Park in soaking wet conditions.

10: A remarkable Italian Grand Prix results in victory for Johnny Herbert. The action begins even before the race starts, when pole position man David Coulthard spins his Williams-Renault on the warm-up lap, but the Scot is granted a reprieve when there is a midfield mix-up on the first tour which results in the race being stopped.
Coulthard leads from the restart, but spins off again when a wheel-bearing fails. Gerhard Berger's Ferrari takes over from Michael Schumacher (Benetton) and Damon Hill (Williams), but the two title contenders clash again when the Englishman slams into the back of the German as they lap backmarker Taki Inoue's Arrows. Berger loses his lead at the pit stops to team-mate Jean Alesi, and is then shocked when the Frenchman's onboard camera detaches itself from one Ferrari and strikes the other in the suspension. Berger is out, and then so is Alesi when his wheel-bearing fails.
So Herbert's Benetton wins from Mika Hakkinen (McLaren) and Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Sauber), moving the Englishman up to third in the points!

10: The FIA then awards Hill a one-race ban, suspended for one race, for his part in the incident with Schumacher.

10: Canada's Jacques Villeneuve is confirmed as this year's PPG Indycar Champion, despite problems with cut tyres and debris (which damages his front wing) in the series finale at Laguna Seca. As the Team Green Reynard-Ford driver struggles to 11th place, and title rival Al Unser Jnr (Penske-Mercedes) is unable to do better than sixth, so Brazilian Gil de Ferran (Hall Racing Reynard-Mercedes) triumphs at the end of a very promising rookie season.

10: There is tragedy at Avus, as Britain's Kieth Odor is killed during the German Supertourenwagen meeting when his stricken Nissan is slammed into by the Audi A4 of erstwhile series leader Frank Biela. It is the second Super Touring fatality of the year, coming six months after Gregg Hansford's death at Australia's Phillip Island. Odor's Primera had won the qualifying 'sprint' race, but it was BMW driver Jo Winkelhock who took a joyless victory in the main championship encounter, allowing the German to take the championship lead.

10: Rusty Wallace wins the Richmond round of the NASCAR Winston Cup, but sixth place keeps Jeff Gordon in the lead of the championship.

10: Denmark's Jason Watt is the Formula Opel Euroseries Champion, after trouncing his opposition in the final round at Ireland's Mondello Park. Main rival Manuel Giao finishes third in the race.

10: Watt's Formula Ford rival from 1994, Jonny Kane, takes the British Formula Vauxhall title by following team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya home at Oulton Park. It is the third consecutive FV championship win for Paul Stewart Racing.

10: The Tour of Flanders, the latest round of the Belgian Rally Championship, is won by Ford Escort Cosworth driver Paul Lietaer.

10: Oliver Gavin bounces back into contention for the British F3 title with victory at Snetterton in his Edenbridge Dallara-Vauxhall. Points leader Ralph Firman is eliminated from the race when his foot gets caught under a pedal and he spears into Warren Hughes.

10: Alain Menu wins both rounds of the British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park in his Renault Laguna, but it isn't enough to prevent John Cleland (second and third in his Vauxhall) from winning the championship for the second time. Rickard Rydell has a subdued weekend in his Volvo, and is overtaken for second by Menu in the points.

11: Silverstone admits that it is investigating the feasibility of a new, 2.1-mile National circuit, encompassing parts of the existing Grand Prix and South layouts.

11:Touring car privateer Matt Neal, who had clinched the Total Cup at OuIton Park's BTCC races with his Ford Mondeo, is called up to Britain's FIA World Cup squad. James Thompson a member of the original line-up has been advised not to race for some time as his vision is still blurred following his Knockhill testing shunt.

11: Toyota Team Europe's Ove Andersson admits that its deal with Castrol will almost certainly continue for 1996.

11: It seems that former World Rally Champion Stig Blomqvist will compete on the London International Rally.

14: Ligier announces that it will retain Mugen-Honda engines in 1996. The team will run in the colours of Gauloises Blondes cigarettes.