Date: Mon, 31 Aug 1998 18:57:14 +0100 1998 Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship Rounds 21 & 22, Brands Hatch, Kent - Monday August 31 1998 Nigel Mansell was the again focus for attention as "Red-55" made its second appearance...
Date: Mon, 31 Aug 1998 18:57:14 +0100
1998 Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship Rounds 21 & 22, Brands Hatch, Kent - Monday August 31 1998
Nigel Mansell was the again focus for attention as "Red-55" made its second appearance for the Ford Mondeo Racing team at Brands Hatch this weekend, in front a massive crowd of 40,000 dedicated fans.
The biggest crowd of the BTCC season turned out to see the double World Champion in action, at the circuit where he scored his debut Formula One victory in 1985.
"It's great to be back here" said the BTCC's most famous driver. "It's a very special circuit to me and it holds so many memories."
Mansell's on-track performance - with excellent starts in both races - was however hampered by incident, being forced off on two separate occasions, at the same part of the track.
After a first lap incident in race one, Mansell's Ford Mondeo was badly damaged, requiring scenes reminiscent of his Donington BTCC debut, as the Ford Mondeo Racing team worked heroically to repair the car for race two.
Mansell was ready and back on the grid for the 50-lap Feature Race, but had to pit early with a puncture and was left a lap down on the leaders, eventually being pushed off the track on his 30th lap.
"Obviously, the result is disappointing", he said later, "but I've had a very good day seeing all the people here and it's given me another opportunity to learn more about these cars, which are far more technical than people realise and very different to what I was used to in F1 and Indycars."
Team-mate Will Hoy suffered a similar race-day fate, visiting the gravel trap at Paddock Hill Bend in both races, first as a victim of a lap one accident and later crashing into the tyre wall due to a mechanical problem on his Mondeo.
Said Will: "It's not what I wanted. I qualified pretty much where I expected - we know we're not the quickest in the dry and that will show on such a short, tight circuit as this. We would have had a good top ten finish in race two, but I just had no brakes going into Paddock Hill Bend, putting me straight into the tyre wall - it was quite a high speed accident."
Hoy will be re-joined by regular team-mate Craig Baird for the next rounds of the Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship, at Oulton Park on September 13. Nigel Mansell is scheduled to be back in front of the fans at the final rounds of the BTCC season, at Silverstone, on September 20.
Race Statistics Round 21 (Sprint Race) Will Hoy DNF Nigel Mansell DNF Winner Anthony Reid (Nissan)
Round 22 (Feature Race) Will Hoy DNF Nigel Mansell DNF Winner Anthony Reid (Nissan)
Championship Points Drivers' Championship Rickard Rydell (Volvo) 1st 220 points Will Hoy (Ford) 9th 57 points Nigel Mansell (Ford) 17th 7 points Craig Baird (Ford) 18th 6 points
Teams' Championship Williams Racing 1st 140 points Ford Mondeo Racing 7th 36 points
Manufacturers' Championship Nissan 1st 249 points Ford Motor Company 7th 101 points