The rain that was predicted for tomorrow started falling today, and it was a wet second qualifying session at Adelaide. The rain started falling during the morning pratice session, and was falling continuously all through qualifying. This morning Damon Hill spun out twice, once in the dry and once in the wet.
As regards next year, current pit lane rumours are that Larrousse are talking to Brian Hart about engines; that Coulthard may drive for Sauber-Ford next year (with Mansell in the Williams) - Williams' option on Coulthard runs out next week; and that Brundle will get to stay at McLaren.
Noda was the first and only car out during the first five minutes of the session. After that Zanardi, Brundle and Katayama appeared out, with Brundle again being quickest in the wet for the first part of the session.
Mansell leaves the pits, trying a practice start as he does so. Both he and Hill were trying practice starts this morning. Mansell's times at the intermediates were +8.902, +14.965 and +23.508 slower than his yesterday's pole position time.
It is now 24 minutes into the session, with Brundle heading the list, having done 6 laps, the best of which is a 1:37.111, second is Blundell with a 1:39.383, third Mansell on 1:39.687 and fourth Barrichello with a 1:39.951. Apparently neither of the Jordan's were allowed out in the wet this morning (Gary Anderson's decision).
As Barrichello goes into the pits, Schumacher comes out. Mansell goes quickest so far in this session with a 1:36.649. On his first flying lap Schumacher tops that with a 1:34.492 - over two seconds faster than anyone else has gone this morning.
It is 30 minutes into the session, as Schumacher starts his second flying lap. His splits are +6.718 and +10.868 off the pole time, with him completing the lap in 1:33.420 - a full second faster again. Hakkinen comes out at this point, and is slower than team-mate Brundle had been earlier.
Alesi, Mansell and Hill all come out of the pits. Hill is +11.930 off Mansell's second split from yesterday, and +19.332 off at the end of the lap, which puts him into third place for today, with a 1:35.511, behind Hakkinen who improved his time to go up to second place.
Schumacher leaves the pits again with 18 minutes to go. Hill puts in a 1:33.951 - only .5 slower than Schumacher. Mansell is out of laps, and returns to the pits, secure in having his 32nd pole position start tomorrow.
Hakkinen has an engine blow up (one last set of fireworks before they leave to join Jordan) and parks it just before a corner. Herbert misses the corner at the end of the straight and goes down into the escape road before rejoining the track - the same place as Mansell did this yesterday. Shortly afterwards Katayama goes down the same slip road, but parks it - his engine has blown up too.
Brundle goes out and does a 1:36.264 - a marginal improvement over his previous time, but not so dominant in the wet as he was last weekend. Hill is still out, sliding all over the place but is still a full second slower than Schumacher, who acheived a 1:32.627. Herbert's best time was a 1:35.712.
Irvine, Schiaterella, Gachot, Belmondo and Brabham did not appear out during the session at all. Gachot's problem yesterday was a blown engine after half a lap, but he will be driving for Pacific next year.
So that's it. Last qualifying session of the season, and the times and positions from yesterday's qualifying still stand. No news on the predicted weather for tomorrow in the light of today's rain.
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If it makes goo on the windscreen, we'll call it a bug. -- Larry Wall