DAVID Coulthard will be able to attend to some unfinished business

this season, namely winning the international Formula 3000 championship,

a task made possible by a late sponsorship deal.

With the endorsement of his employers, Frank Williams and Patrick

Head, Coulthard will supplement Williams testing duties with a

properly-funded F3000 campaign, starting at Silverstone on Monday, May


Vortex Motorsport will run the Scot from its Bicester base,

supplementing Italian Paulo delle Piane and Brazilian Tarso Markues in a

trio of Reynard-Cosworths.

Coulthard receives more than a little help from his friends, including

Reynard's chassis expert, Paul Owens, while access to competitive

Cosworth engines appears guaranteed.

Because the package has been assembled at a late stage, Coulthard

could suffer from lack of pre-race testing, but he hopes to get into one

of the team's cars at Barcelona next week. He may have to depend on a

year-old specification chassis.

''I am a racer by instinct and, after two years in F3000 worrying

about where the finance is coming from, I can now get my head down, give

it 100%, and win the series,'' a bullish Coulthard explained.

Last year a broken throttle cable foiled his chances of taking the

title at Nogaro in France, a bid which had already been compromised by

gearbox failure at Hockenheim, when challenging for the lead, and

running out of fuel while well placed at Brands Hatch.

Ron Meadows and Henny Vollenberg head Vortex's organisation, which is

sited within a spanner's throw of the Reynard plant, and previous team

drivers include current Sauber-Mercedes F1 charger Heinz


Finished in striking Miami blue, Coulthard's Reynard will also carry

the orange livery of loyal backer Aggreko of Dumbarton, heating and

ventilation equipment suppliers, and Highland Spring.

While many young drivers covet Coulthard's Rothmans Williams-Renault

testing contract and several racing insiders question the wisdom of a

parallel racing programme, the Twynholm driver believes their is no

substitute for the real thing.

His F3000 debut at Silverstone in 1992 produced a storming climb from

twenty-fifth position to seventh, and last year Coulthard clawed his way

from eighth on the grid to second. With money worries removed higher

qualifying positions should help him extend his F3000 victory tally

beyond the solitary 1993 Sicilian Enna victory.

On Sunday he is bound for Jerez, where the Williams testing team has

some serious work to do to counter the burgeoning challenge of Benetton,

which resulted in Michael Schumacher's Brazilian Grand Prix triumph.

As the Pacific Grand Prix looms on April 17 on the untried Japanese

Tanaka raceway at Aida, Coulthard will be striving to develop a more

balanced chassis for race regulars Ayrton Senna and Damon Hill.

Meanwhile, friend Allan McNish looks set to renew F3000 rivalry with

his countryman, and should confirm a campaign with the Middlebridge team

handling a Lola-Tickford Cosworth early next week.

He won at Silverstone driving a Lola in 1990 and knows that only

sustained success will restore a stalled career.

* WORLD champion Juha Kankkunen took a clear lead in the Safari Rally

on yesterday's opening day after Toyota team-mate and early leader

Didier Auriol of France lost more than an hour through suspension


The Finnish driver, three-time past winner, opened up a six-minute

lead over second-placed Ian Duncan of Kenya, also driving a Toyota.

Kenjiro Shinozuka of Japan, driving a Mitsubishi, was in third place.