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Hakkinen Victorious in Japan, Wins First Formula One Title

From Staff and Wire Reports

Finland’s Mika Hakkinen won his first Formula One championship Sunday, capping his breakthrough season with a victory in the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka.

Hakkinen, an eight-time winner this year, secured the title when Germany’s Michael Schumacher dropped out after 31 laps. Schumacher was running third when the right rear wheel on his Ferrari shredded.

Driving a McLaren, Hakkinen took the checkered flag after 51 laps on the 3.636-mile Suzuka Circuit. Schumacher’s Ferrari teammate, Eddie Irvine, was second, followed by McLaren’s David Coulthard.

Schumacher, a two-time Formula One champion, topped qualifying, but was forced to start from the back of the field after his car stalled on the second attempt to begin the race. On the first attempt, Italy’s Jarno Trulli stalled on the grid forcing the officials to abort the start.

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Hakkinen held the lead throughout the race.

Hakkinen finished with 100 points, 14 more than Schumacher, and led McLaren to its eighth constructor’s title.

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Mark Martin will start from the pole today in the AC Delco 400 at North Carolina Speedway in Rockingham. Martin, who won the pole Friday with a run of 156.508 mph, is locked into second place in the points chase. Jeff Gordon needs only to finish 40th or better today to clinch the championship.

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In the AC Delco 200, also at North Carolina Speedway, Elliott Sadler ran away from Kevin Lepage with 33 laps to go and led four Virginians among the top finishers.

Boxing

Prince Naseem Hamed, the WBO featherweight champion who had predicted a third-round knockout, needed all 12 rounds to score a unanimous decision over Northern Ireland’s Wayne McCullough at Atlantic City, N.J.

Cesar Bazan of Mexico kept his WBC lightweight title with a majority decision over countryman Mauro Lucero in Mexico City. Lucero had dropped from the super-lightweight class for the fight.

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Tennis

Richard Krajicek, one of the few players to have a winning record against Pete Sampras, upset the world’s top-ranked player, 6-7 (7-2), 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), in the semifinals of the Eurocard Open at Stuttgart, Germany. It bolstered his chances of qualifying for the ATP Championships in Hanover, Germany.

Krajicek, ranked No. 11 in the world, improved his record against Sampras to 5-2 and has won their last three meetings. He will play 10th-seeded Yevgeny Kafelnikov for the title. Kafelnikov beat 12th-seeded Jonas Bjorkman, 6-2, 7-5, in the other semifinal.

Xavier Malisse, an 18-year-old qualifier from Belgium, continued his impressive run in the Mexican Open at Mexico City, reaching the final with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over defending champion Francisco Clavet of Spain.

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In today’s final, Malisse will face Jiri Novak of the Czech Republic, who upset fifth-seeded Mariano Puerta of Argentina, 6-3, 6-7 (7-1), 6-3.

Mary Pierce of France won the Luxembourg Open when her opponent, Silvia Farina of Italy, withdrew in the second set because of a thigh injury. Pierce was leading, 6-0, 2-0, at the time.

Baseball

Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio was able to walk on his own for the first time in 18 days. DiMaggio, 83, is recuperating from a life-threatening bout with pneumonia at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood, Fla. . . . The Yankees picked up their $3.4 million option on Joe Girardi, keeping the catching platoon with Jorge Posada in place for 1999. . . . Chicago Cub closer Rod Beck will sign a two-year contract on Monday, WGN Radio reported.

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Miscellany

Mike Golding became the first British sailor to win any leg of an Around Alone race when he finished the first leg from Charleston, S.C., two hours, 41 minutes ahead of France’s Isabelle Autissier. Golding, who had taken the lead only two days earlier, sailed the 6,865 nautical miles in 34 days, 18 hours, 54 minutes and 44 seconds to beat the former record for the leg held by Autissier by nearly 14 hours.

In Class II, for boats 50 feet and under, Brad Van Liew of Playa del Rey trailed France’s Jean-Pierre Mouligne by 94 miles with 1,739 to go, followed by Britain’s Mike Garside 100 miles back.

Reigning world champion Alexei Yagudin triumphed at Skate America in Detroit, edging runner-up Michael Weiss of Fairfax, Va. Alexei Urmanov finished third and Elvis Stojko fourth.

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Louisville basketball Coach Denny Crum collapsed while preparing to board a flight at Louisville International Airport. He underwent a series of tests that all came back normal and was to be kept overnight at a hospital for observation.

Oregon Coach Bill Dellinger’s last Pacific 10 cross country championship meet nearly gave him the greatest upset of his storied 32-year coaching career. But Stanford won its third consecutive title on a muddy, rain-soaked course in Eugene, defeating the Ducks 48 to 50.

The second-ranked UCLA men’s water polo team was beaten by Stanford, 7-5, while the USC men defeated UC Santa Barbara, 12-4.

The UCLA and USC women’s soccer teams will meet at 1 p.m. today at the Coliseum.

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Dan Lambert scored two goals and assisted on two others to lead the Ice Dogs to a 5-1 victory over the Cincinnati Cyclones at Long Beach.


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