NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP, 27/6/97
MENU LEADS THE WAY AT CROFT WITH less than a second covering the top 12 runners in today's (Fri) final official test session at Croft, there are excellent prospects for a pair of closely fought battles in Sunday's twin rounds of the Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship.
It's the first time Britain's biggest and most competitive race series has visited the track, near Darlington, and Sunday's event will be the North East's biggest motor sporting draw in years. Approaching 10,000 advance tickets have already been sold and a raceday crowd of twice that number is expected.
Championship leader Alain Menu was the only driver to break the 1m 21s barrier today, his Renault Laguna ending the session just over a tenth of a second faster than the Honda of Gabriele Tarquini. Menu's team-mate Jason Plato -- quickest in Croft testing last week -- was back in eighth place after damaging his car in a gravel trap roll- over accident. He was unhurt and will race a spare car this weekend.
Double BTCC champion John Cleland and Total Cup Independent Jamie Wall both endured off-track excursions, damaging their Vauxhalls lightly.
Official qualifying for rounds 13 and 14 of the BTCC takes place tomorrow (Saty).
Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship Official testing, Croft, 27/6/97 1 Alain Menu (Switz), Renault Laguna, 1m 20.905s; 2 Gabriele Tarquini (It), Honda Accord, 1m 21.036s; 3 James Thompson (GB), Honda Accord, 1m 21.141s; 4 Rickard Rydell (Swe), Volvo S40, 1m 21.486s; 5 John Bintcliffe (GB), Audi A4, 1m 21.519s