NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP, 28/6/97 RAIN STOPS PLAY AT CROFT

WITH the Croft circuit wetter than Wimbledon this afternoon (Saty), race organisers have had to abandon all qualifying for tomorrow's Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship races. Puddles six to eight inches deep have formed around the Darlington track and, after a week of heavy rain, drainage has become a major problem.

"There are four or five places around the circuit where you could go waterski-ing," said BTCC frontrunner Rickard Rydell. "There's no way that it's safe for racing at the moment."

Championship organiser TOCA gave the teams a free vote on how to decide grid positions for tomorrow's twin Auto Trader Championship races. The options included using yesterday's testing times and working out an average grid position for all drivers from the previous races; the teams opted in the end to use current championship positions.

Thus Renault's Swiss ace Alain Menu will line up in pole position for both rounds 13 and 14 of the series, bring his tally of qualifying top slots to 10 for the season.

TOCA Chief Executive Alan Gow said of the wash-out: "It's very unfortunate that this had to happen on our first visit to the Croft circuit. It's not the fault of the track -- we would be in the same position at Silverstone or anywhere else after so much rain. We just have to hope that things dry out sufficiently for us to be able to race tomorrow." Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship Grid positions for Rounds 13 & 14, Croft, 29/6/97 1 Alain Menu (Switz), Renault Laguna 2 Rickard Rydell (Swe), Volvo S40 3 Jason Plato (GB), Renault Laguna 4 Frank Biela (Ger), Audi A4 5 Gabriele Tarquini (It), Honda Accord

-- www.btcc.co.uk