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Thursday, October 22, 1998 Published at 16:31 GMT 17:31 UK

Schumacher believes in title destiny

Michael Schumacher sprays Mike Hakkinen after the Luxembourg Grand Prix

Michael Schumacher will go into the season-ending Japanese Grand Prix with renewed confidence after a premonition that he is destined to become world champion.

The German has been encouraged by the performance of his Ferrari during testing in Italy and said: "I sense that something is going to happen that will make us win the title.

"I can't explain where this premonition comes from, but I can assure you it's there."

Schumacher is four points behind championship leader Mika Hakkinen and winning the race at Suzuka on November 1 will not be good enough if the Finn finishes second.

Such a result would leave them tied on 96 points with seven victories each, but Hakkinen would then become champion by virtue of three runner-up finishes to Schumacher's two.

"Obviously I hope that there's someone between me and Hakkinen. I don't know who that could be, but obviously it won't be (David) Coulthard. I'm sure that Eddie (Irvine) will do everything he can to stay behind me. I'm counting on him a lot because he's been very quick at Mugello this week," said Schumacher.

He led the drivers' standings 12 months ago but eventually lost the title to Jacques Villeneuve and wants to avoid the same fate.

"I'm pleased and proud of all the work that's been done in the past few weeks. We've made enormous progress in all areas of the car, and we've done everything we could."

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