NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP Final Official Testing: Brands Hatch, 19/4/96 Renault's Swiss ace Alain Menu topped the timesheets at Brands Hatch this afternoon (Fri) in final official testing for Sunday's rounds three and four of the Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship.
Menu lapped the Kent track well inside the qualifying lap record and headed Volvo rival Kelvin Burt by just six-thousandths of a second. With less than a second covering the top 16 cars, Sunday's track action is sure to be the closest yet seen in the 1996 championship.
Menu's time came despite continuing engine problems for Renault: team-mate Will Hoy blew up two power units today. The team also lost two engines in Monday's test sessions.
With Monday's fastest man Rickard Rydell (Volvo) unwell and choosing to rest today, the top three was completed by championship leader Frank Biela, whose Audi A4 won both opening rounds of the championship.
John Cleland (Vauxhall) and Tim Harvey (Peugeot) set encouraging times in their new cars to claim fourth and fifth slots. Less fortunate was 1993 Champion Jo Winkelhock, who crashed his BMW heavily at Paddock Hill Bend -- scene of team-mate Roberto Ravaglia's big crash on Monday.
Official qualifying takes place at Brands Hatch tomorrow (Saty). OFFICIAL TESTING TIMES 1 Alain Menu (Switz), Renault Laguna, 0m 45.616s, 94.98mph; 2 Kelvin Burt (GB), Volvo 850, 45.622s; 3 Frank Biela (Ger), Audi A4, 45.727s; 4 John Cleland (GB), Vauxhall Vectra, 45.822s; 5 Tim Harvey (GB), Peugeot 406, 45.879s; 6 Will Hoy (GB), Renault Laguna, 45.990s; 7 James Thompson (GB), Vauxhall Vectra, 46.028s; 8 James Kaye (GB), Honda Accord, 46.057s; 9 Jo Winkelhock (Ger), BMW 320i, 46.104s; 10 Paul Radisich (NZ), Ford Mondeo, 46.109s; 11 David Leslie (GB), Honda Accord, 46.113s; 12 Roberto Ravaglia (It), BMW 320i, 46.159s, etc. -- Official BTCC website: Best in British Motor Sport http://www.demon.co.uk/racing