The month in Motor Sport




18: Manuel Gião loses his victory in the recent Nürburgring Formula Opel Euroseries round. After a protest, the Portuguese is deemed not to have been running when the race was halted (he had spun into a gravel trap) before winning the restart. Jason Watt inherits the spoils and cuts Gião’s points advantage.

22: Sources suggest that Reynard is instigating action against the FIA through the European Court in Brussels. The Bicester concern is unhappy with the governing body’s decision to replace the existing Formula 3000 with a monotype category, the contract for which was awarded to major rival Lola.

22: Madgwick International confirms that it has ordered a brace of Lola F3000s for 1996, making Robert Synge’s team the first to commit to the new car.

22: Speaking at Cleveland, veteran Indycar star Bobby Rahal announces that he split with longtime associate Carl Hogan for 1996 and go it alone with his own team. Hogan could link up with Penske to run a single car for Paul Tracy or Emerson Fittipaldi.

23: Michael Bartels notches up a surprise double win in the German Touring Car Championship at Diepholz. The Alfa Romeo driver is only briefly headed by Mercedes’s Dario Franchitti in the second race, before the Scotsman experiences gearbox problems. Ian Magnussen makes a brilliant comeback from his broken leg injury, scorching through the field to take fifth in race two. Bernd Schneider retains the championship lead with a low key weekend.

23: Former British F2 champion Yvan Muller takes two more wins in the French Supertourisme series at Paul Ricard with his Oreca BMW. In the Japanese tourers at Mine, Akira lida (Nissan) and Anthony Reid (Opel) are the victors.

23: Formula Three action in Europe sees Italian championship wins at Mugello for Thomas Biagi and Luca Rangoni, a double German success at Diepholz for Ralf Schumacher and a French victory at Paul Ricard for Laurent Redon.

23: Philippe Bugalski’s Renault Clio Maxi takes a thrilling win on the Rouergue Rally, the latest round of the French championship. In Germany, Dieter Depping takes a considerably more clear-cut win on the Hunsruck Rally in his Sierra.

23: Ricardo Rosset wins the latest round of the FIA F3000 Championship at Sicily’s Enna-Pergusa. The Brazilian’s Super Nova Reynard leads from start to finish, teammate Vincenzo Sospiri benefiting from a high attrition rate to take second and retain his championship lead. Allan McNish is particularly unlucky to be punted out of second place by Emmanuel Clerico in the latter stages. Kenny Brack also drops out of second in the early going with suspension failure.

23: A bruising Indycar encounter at Cleveland is won by Jacques Villeneuve, when the Canadian makes an opportunist move to leap past the battling Bryan Herta and Michael Andretti on the last lap. Brazilian Gil de Ferran leads most of the way, but is taken out when he makes an optimistic lunge on obstinate backmarker Scott Pruett.

24: Ferrari denies to comment on rumours that Michael Schumacher has signed for the Prancing Horse for the 1996 season. If the German has inked a deal with the Italian team, both Jean Alesi and Gerhard Berger are expected to leave.

24: Speculation mounts that the Vanwall name will return to Formula One in the near future, for the first time in 36 years. It is suggested that an existing team will resurrect the name.

24: Seat will enter the 1996 Mobil 1/Top Gear British Rally Championship with a two-car team of Group A Ibiza GTs. It is expected that the cars will be prepared abroad and driven by continentals.

24: With Mark Higgins called away by other commitments, it is confirmed that Jonny Milner will take the plum Asquith Autosport Honda Civic VTi drive on the Ulster Rally.

24: Nissan’s new Group A Micra should debut on the Catalonia Rally. It is expected that a Spaniard will drive it, although Alister McRae or Gregoire de Mevius could step in.

24: Nissan Motorsports Europe’s Dave Whittock reveals plans to run a Micra Challenge in five or six European countries in 1996. Young rally aces will be encouraged to take the wheel, and the champions could benefit with works-supported GpA Micras in ’97.

25: Vauxhall’s young Touring Car star James Thompson injures himself in a huge testing accident at Knockhill. The 21 year old, unconscious for 15 minutes after the impact, has severe bruising and eye injuries, but should make a full recovery. His place for the Scottish double-header is taken by former Vauxhall stalwart Jeff Allam.

26: Plans to build a brand new international circuit at Abu Dhabi are unveiled at Silverstone. The grandson of the President of the United Arab Emirates is behind the project to host the Middle East’s first Grand Prix.

26: FIA supremo Max Mosley indicates in New Zealand that the World Rally Championship could feature new rallies in the Far East in the near future, to replace established European rounds.

27: Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo openly criticises Jean Alesi in La Stampa, an Italian newspaper owned by the Fiat dynasty… World Champion Michael Schumacher seems certain to drive for the Prancing Horse in 1996, but refutes the suggestions.

27: Alain Prost terminates his relationship with Renault. The former World Champion is being linked with the Mercedes Class 1 Touring Car effort, but could also set up a Grand Prix team with engines supplied by Peugeot.

29: Bernie Ecclestone and the Formula 3000 team managers meet at Hockenheim, and agree unanimously that the category’s replacement formula for 1996 will be known as Formula Two.

29: Belgian Marc Goossens scores his first Formula 3000 win at Hockenheim. Goossens’s Nordic Racing Lola sweeps past Frenchmen Emmanuel Clerico and Guillaume Gomez in the first two laps, and then repels an attack from second-placed Kenny Brack’s Madgwick Reynard.

29: Bertie Fisher dominates the Ulster Rally, leading from start to finish in his Subaru Impreza. Stephen Finlay chases all the way in the Michelin Pilot Ford Escort RS Cosworth. The British championship battle goes to Alister McRae’s fourth-placed Nissan Sunny GTi after battles with Gwyndaf Evans and Alain Oreille, but Fisher is furious when misleading press releases imply that McRae won the rally overall.

30: Thanks to his total mastery of the 28-mile Motu Road stage, Colin McRae completes his New Zealand Rally hat-trick with his Subaru Impreza. The Scotsman finishes 44s ahead of Toyota’s Didier Auriol, while Juha Kankkunen claims third ahead of Armin Schwarz.

30: After Damon Hill’s Williams-Renault spins off at the start of lap two, Michael Schumacher wins the German GP at Hockenheim for the first time with his Benetton-Renault. David Coulthard takes second for Williams from Gerhard Berger’s Ferrari, this despite the Austrian being called in for a stop and go jumped start penalty. As usual at Hockenheim, engine dramas take their toll, preventing podium appearances for Rubens Barrichello and Mika Hakkinen.

30: Despite a fire in the pits, Jo Winkelhock, Steve Soper and Peter Kox win the Spa 24 Hours in their Schnitzer BMW 320i. Nelson Piquet pilots the sister car to second place with Roberto Ravaglia and Marc Duez.

30: Oliver Gavin and Ralph Firman share the spoils in the British F3 Championship double-header at Donington. Firman’s second race win makes amends for his mistake in the first, when he slides off the road at the Old Hairpin.

30: Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa clinches the Japanese F3 title for the TOM’S Toyota outfit with another win at Sugo. The F3000 race is won by Toranosuke Takagi, after series leader Tom Kristensen clashes with Masahiko Kageyama.

30: Brilliant young Northern Ireland talent Wayne Douglas stuns the Formula Vauxhall establishment by winning overall at Knockhill in a Class B car. New series leader Jonny Kane is lucky to escape injury when title rival Martin O’Connell drives over the top of him!

30: Norway’s Tommy Rustad wins the Formula Renault Eurocup race supporting the German GP in his works Tatuus.

30: British talent Mark Higgins wins his first international rally in Turkey! The Manxman leads all the way in his Nissan Sunny GTi. 30: Rickard Rydell and Alain Menu are the two victors in the BTCC double-header at Knockhill, for Volvo and Renault respectively. In a below par weekend, championship leader John Cleland only figures in the lower reaches of the top six.

30: After a scintillating last lap duel, Scott Pruett pips Al Unser Jnr to the line to win the Michigan 500 in his Patrick Racing Lola-Ford. Adrian Fernandez takes third, but the event is marred when former Indy 500 victor Danny Sullivan crashes heavily and breaks his pelvis.

31: Minardi confirms that Pedro Lamy will replace Pier-Luigi Martini for the Hungarian GP. The Portuguese talent has been out of F1 since his horrific testing crash at Silverstone with Lotus last year.


3: lndycar series leader Jacques Villeneuve shakes up the Formula One driver market by testing impressively for Williams at Silverstone. The Canadian keeps team regulars Damon Hill and David Coulthard on their toes, and says he will make his decision for 1996 within two weeks.

4: Bernie Ecclestone changes his mind again, and decides that Formula 3000’s replacement formula will be known as… Formula 3000!

5: Top British Hillclimb Championship exponent Mark Colton loses his life when he crashes his Pilbeam heavily in practice at Northern Ireland’s Craigantlet venue.

5: Jason Watt wins the Formula Opel Euroseries round supporting the ITC at Estoril. The following day sees Andre Couto win the second part of the double-header.

6: Watt’s longtime buddy fellow Dane Jan Magnussen shakes off his recent leg injuries to score his first International Touring Car win at Estoril. Magnussen’s Mercedes follows home that of Bernd Schneider in the first race, after both have overhauled the Alfa Romeo of Nicola Larini. In the second race, Magnussen is pressured by Larini before the Italian damages his diff with a trip over the grass.

6: Up and coming Argentine talent Norberto Fontana takes victory in the prestigious Marlboro Masters of F3 event at Zandvoort. Fontana’s German championship leading Kaufmann Dallara pips title rival Ralf Schumacher, with British series regular Hello Castro Neves third.

6: John Bowe clinches the Australian Touring Car title with two wins at Oran Park in his Ford Falcon.

6: Super Touring wins around the world are taken by: Emanuele Pirro (Audi Ouattro two Italian wins at Misano); Deon loubert (BMW two South African wins at East London); Masanori Sekiya (Toyota) and Anthony Reid (Opel one Japanese win each at Aida). Opel’s Mike Briggs is confirmed as the South African champion.

6: Piero Liatti takes a convincing win on the Madeira Rally with his Subaru Impreza.

6: Murray Grierson wins the latest round of the Mintex National Rally Championship the Morgannwg Forest Rally with his Subrau Legacy RS, but only when event leader Chris Mellors slips off the road on the eighth of nine stages with his Escort Cosworth and drops to sixth.

6: The British Kart GP takes place at Silverstone, Trevor Roberts winning the headlining 250 Formula E event on his PVP-Rotax.

7: German F3 ace Ralf Schumacher, younger brother of World Champion Michael, confirms that he will compete in Formula 3000 in 1996 and dovetail this with an F1 test programme.

7: The Williams Renault Touring Car team decides that Alain Menu and Will Hoy will contest the final round of the Italian Superturismo series at Vallelunga.

7: Vauxhall Sport announces that runaway South African Touring Car champion Mike Briggs will partner John Cleland in place of the injured James Thompson at Brands Hatch.

7: Ford Motorsport says it will carry on in the World Rally Championship in 1996, but who will run the works team is still unclear.

7: Peugeot says that Richard Burns will drive a works-entered 306 S16 on the forthcoming Manx International Rally.

7: Flushed with the success of the Historic London-Sydney Marathon and this year’s London-Mexico, event organiser Nick Brittan confirms that his next project is a Panama-Alaska Rally! Cars built before 1970 will have to compete in temperatures from minus 26′ to plus 26’…

9: Just one week after his first ‘proper’ F1 test, Jan Magnussen stuns McLaren by scorching around Silverstone almost half a second quicker than Mark Blundell manages on the same day. It is thought that Blundell, whose deal with the Woking team is on a race by race basis, could make way for the Dane before the end of the season.

9: Renault UK launches the Renault Sport Spider UK Cup for 1996 for its new two seater sports model. Interest is immediately high, and 11 deposits are taken within four days.

10: The Grand Prix circus arrives in Hungary with ‘who goes where?’ rumours flowing thick and fast. Michael Schumacher is believed to be a certainty for Ferrari, especially when Fiat boss Gianni Agnelli claims that he thinks the German has been hired. Damon Hill re-signs for Williams (despite an offer from the Newman-Haas Indycar team), and will be joined by Jacques Villeneuve, while Jean Alesi swaps seats with Schumacher and joins Benetton from Ferrari. Forced out of Williams, David Coulthard looks likely to join Mika Hakkinen at McLaren.

Rubens Barrichello is being linked with the second Benetton seat, which will not be retained by Johnny Herbert. The Briton is rumoured to be standing down for the rest of the season so he can seek alternative employment – if this is true, Jos Verstappen could substitute.

11: Michelin is rumoured to be returning to F1. It is believed that McLaren has tested the French tyre giant’s wares in Spain.

11: The FIA’s John Corsmit issues a draft to Grand Prix drivers on rules for overtaking. The measures are met with howls of derision by the drivers, who are subsequently told to ignore them.

13: Damon Hill closes the World Championship deficit to Michael Schumacher to 11 points when he wins the Hungarian GP. The Englishman’s Williams-Renault dominates and eventually beats team-mate David Coulthard, but the Scotsman only grabs second place late on when Michael Schumacher retires his Benetton with fuel pump problems.

Even worse fortune befalls Rubens Barrichello, who coasts over the line when his Jordan’s Peugeot engine blows and drops from third to seventh in one fell swoop. Gerhard Berger just holds off Johnny Herbert for third.

13:Taki Inoue, one of F1’s tailenders, is knocked down by a safety car when he gets out of his retired Footwork at the Hungaroring. X-rays reveal that no bones are broken.

13: Speaking at Brands Hatch, TOCA top dog Alan Gow announces that the North American Touring Car Championship is go for 1996. A parallel press conference is held at the Mid-Ohio Indycar meeting. Chrysler, Honda, Mazda, Toyota and Ford are all thought likely to compete.

13: Guy Smith clinches the British Formula Renault Sport title at Brands Hatch, after notching up his seventh win of the year with his Manor Motorsport Van Diemen.

13: Al Unser Jnr wins the Indycar round at Mid-Ohio, his Penske-Mercedes sweeping into the lead when the Ford engine on Michael Andretti’s Newman-Haas Lola quits with three laps to go. Andretti’s teammate Paul Tracy takes second from early leader Jacques Villeneuve.

13: Will Hoy takes his first BTCC win since 1992 at Brands Hatch in his Renault Laguna. John Cleland triumphs in the second race for Vauxhall, but is protested after the event for allegedly barging the Volvo of Rickard Rydell out of the way at Clearways.

14: Dutch authorities give the green light for for the construction of a new F1-standard circuit at Zandvoort. The seaside town, which last hosted a GP in 1985, hopes to revive the event in 1998.

14: Mitsubishi Ralliart’s Andrew Cowan confirms that two Lancers will contest the Catalonia Rally, and that Tommi Makinen and Andrea Aghini are the likely drivers.

14: Finnish sources suggest that the 1000 Lakes Rally could leave its traditional August date in future for a winter running.

16: Ferrari confirms that Michael Schumacher has signed for 1996 and 1997.