NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP BRANDS HATCH, 21/9/96 BMW's Jo Winkelhock looks set to end his Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship season with a flourish at Brands Hatch tomorrow (Sun) after dominating both qualifying sessions this afternoon.
The 1993 Champion, who is bidding to beat rivals Rickard Rydell and Alain Menu to the runner-up spot in the championship behind Frank Biela, recorded the fastest ever lap of the Brands Indy circuit in a Super Touring car in qualifying for round 25. He followed that up with another pole position-earning lap time in round 26 qualifying, bringing his tally of poles for the season to seven, more than any other driver.
Said Winkelhock: 'My target is to win here after some disappointments in the last few races. BMW is always competitive but this championship is very close and it only takes one bit of bad luck for everything to go wrong. I would like to lead home a BMW 1-2-3 tomorrow, if possible!'
Newly crowned drivers' champion Frank Biela (Audi) was 10th quickest and second in the respective sessions, giving him the chance of ending his season with another race victory. Renault man Menu will line up alongside Winkelhock at the start of round 25. Less than a quarter of a second cover the top 10 starters on the grid for round 26... There is still plenty to play for in tomorrow's twin final rounds of the Auto Trader Championship, not least the UKpounds30,000 top prize in the coveted Total Cup for Privateers -- Toyota man Lee Brookes will be defending his points lead from attack by Vauxhall Cavalier driver Richard Kaye. Kaye edged out Brookes in both qualifying sessions today, but ended his afternoon's work with a car-damaging accident on the pits straight which may hamper his progress tomorrow. Also to be settled is the duel for second place in the manufacturers' championship behind Audi. BMW, Renault and Volvo are in the running. OFFICIAL QUALIFYING: ROUND 25 1 Jo Winkelhock (Ger), BMW 320i, 45.136s, 95.99mph; 2 Alain Menu (Switz), Renault Laguna, 45.284s; 3 Roberto Ravaglia (It), BMW 320i, 45.318s; 4 David Leslie (GB), Honda Accord, 45.354s; 5 James Kaye (GB), Honda Accord, 45.395s; 6 Peter Kox (Neth), BMW 320i, 45.415s; 7 James Thompson (GB), Vauxhall Vectra, 45.442s; 8 Rickard Rydell (Swe), Volvo 850, 45.463s; 9 John Cleland (GB), Vauxhall Vectra, 45.471s; 10 Frank Biela (Ger), Audi A4, 45.526s. OFFICIAL QUALIFYING: ROUND 26 1 Winkelhock, 45.433s, 95.37mph; 2 Biela, 45.489s; 3 Leslie, 45.489s; 4 Menu, 45.521s; 5 Ravaglia, 45.562s; 6 Rydell, 45.566s; 7 Kox, 45.575s; 8 James Kaye, 45.600s; 9 Thompson, 45.637s; 10 Cleland, 45.669s. -- Official BTCC website: Best in British Motor Sport http://www.demon.co.uk/racing