NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP Brands Hatch, 20/9/96 Germany's Jo Winkelhock topped the timesheets at Brands Hatch this afternoon (Fri) in official qualifying for Sunday's Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship finale. The BMW man lopped half a second from the official qualifying record to edge out Renault's Alain Menu from top slot by just five-hundredths of a second.
Winkelhock's Dutch team-mate Peter Kox was third fastest, with James Thompson fourth and top Brit in his Vauxhall.
Less than a second covered the top 20 runners on the 1.2-mile Brands Indy circuit on an afternoon when many runners suffered mishaps and spins. The Hondas of David Leslie and James Kaye both visited gravel traps, as did the Peugeots of Tim Harvey and Patrick Watts, and the Ford Mondeos of Matt Neal and Steve Robertson. None of the cars was damaged in the incidents. Although the drivers', manufacturers' and teams' championships have already been settled in favour of Frank Biela and the Audi squad, there is still much to play for in Sunday's twin final rounds of the Auto Trader Championship. The UKpounds30,000 top prize in the coveted Total Cup for Privateers is still at stake, with Toyota man Lee Brookes defending his points lead from attack by Vauxhall Cavalier driver Richard Kaye. Meanwhile, Volvo's Rickard Rydell and Menu are vying for the honour of finishing as runner-up to Biela, and BMW, Volvo and Renault remain in the hunt for second place in the manufacturers' championship. Official qualifying for rounds 25 and 26 of the Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship takes place at the Kent circuit tomorrow (Saty). OFFICIAL TESTING TIMES BRANDS HATCH, SEPTEMBER 20 1 Jo Winkelhock (Ger), BMW 320i, 45.308s, 95.63mph; 2 Alain Menu (Switz), Renault Laguna, 45.356s; 3 Peter Kox (Neth), BMW 320i, 45.421s; 4 James Thompson (GB), Vauxhall Vectra, 45.436s; 5 James Kaye (GB), Honda Accord, 45.443s.
-- Official BTCC website: Best in British Motor Sport http://www.demon.co.uk/racing