NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP Donington Park, nr Derby, 25/05/95
Flying Scotsman John Cleland extended his lead in the 1995 Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship with a pair of dominant victories at Donington Park this afternoon (Sunday). The Vauxhall team leader led both 15-lap events from pole position to chequered flag, and set fastest lap in each into the bargain. His Donington double-top extends his lead over Renault's Swiss driver Alain Menu to 28 points as the championship heads towards its most important race of the year, the British Grand Prix-supporting event at Silverstone on July 16. Cleland made the first of the day's two races look easy. Starting from pole position -- his first top qualifying slot for two years -- Cleland beat off a brief first-lap challenge from the Honda Accord of David Leslie to assume command of the race within seconds of the start, trailed by his championship rival Rickard Rydell (Volvo). Leslie, who had started from an impressive third on the grid in the new Honda, was beaten back into third place by the end of the opening lap, then slipped to fifth behind Menu and Paul Radisich (Ford) a lap later. Cleland meanwhile was easing into a lead he never looked in danger of losing, with Rydell shadowing him all the way to the chequered flag. Menu came under intense pressure in third place in the closing stages from Cleland's Vauxhall team-mate James Thompson. Thompson had made a disastrous start from second on the grid, slipping to seventh on lap one and being forced into a dramatic fight to get back on terms with the leaders. Thompson finished fourth, half a second adrift of Menu and just ahead of Kiwi Radisich. Julian Bailey was sixth for Toyota, with Leslie hanging on for seventh in the Honda. If anything, Cleland's second win of the day was even more impressive. By mid-distance he had eased out a three-second lead over Radisich, who had started from third on the grid, and by the end of the 15 laps the Scot was six seconds clear of the Kiwi. Third -- and taking his third top-three placing of the year -- was Radisich's young Ford team-mate Kelvin Burt, who kept Menu at bay for the duration. Thompson beat Rydell to fifth place on the last lap, ahead of Bailey, Will Hoy (whose Renault started 17th) and Leslie. There was drama in the Total Cup for privateers, with series leader Matt Neal crashing out of both races. Nigel Smith took the honours in the first round, with Richard Kaye -- driving with a broken leg? -- claiming the spoils in the second event.
RESULTS 1995 Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship, round 13 Donington Park, nr Derby 15 laps -- 37.50 miles 1 John Cleland (GB), Vauxhall Cavalier, 25m 01.93s, 89.88mph; 2 Rickard Rydell (Swe), Volvo 850, ~2.67s; 3 Alain Menu (Switz), Renault Laguna, ~7.00s; 4 James Thompson (GB), Vauxhall Cavalier, ~7.53s; 5 Paul Radisich (NZ), Ford Mondeo, ~11.94s; 6 Julian Bailey (GB), Toyota Carina, ~12.43s; 7 David Leslie (GB), Honda Accord, ~17.96s; 8 Tim Sugden (GB), Toyota Carina, ~18.58s; 9 Kelvin Burt (GB), Ford Mondeo, ~19.39s; 10 Tim Harvey (GB), Volvo 850, ~22.67s.
Total Cup Privateers: Nigel Smith (GB/Vauxhall Cavalier). Fastest lap: Cleland, 1m 39.02s, 90.89mph. Pole position : Cleland, 1m 37.730s, 92.09mph.
Round 14 15 laps -- 37.50 miles 1 Cleland, 25m 05.02s, 89.69mph; 2 Radisich, ~6.01s; 3 Burt, ~7.86s; 4 Menu, ~9.25s; 5 Thompson, ~11.19s; 6 Rydell, ~11.83s; 7 Bailey, ~12.01s; 8 Will Hoy (GB), Renault Laguna, ~16.16s; 9 Leslie, ~18.53s; 10 James Kaye (GB), Honda Accord, ~18.91s. Total Cup Privateers: Richard Kaye (GB/Ford). Fastest lap: Cleland, 1m 39.16s, 90.76mph. Pole position : Cleland, 1m 38.044s, 91.79mph.
Championship positions Drivers: 1 Cleland, 208 points; 2 Menu, 180; 3 Rydell, 170; 4 Radisich, 122; 5 Thompson, 112; 6 Harvey, 107. Manufacturers:1 Vauxhall, 244; 2 Volvo, 231; 3 Renault, 212; 4 Ford, 156. Total Cup Privateers: =1 Richard Kaye & Matt Neal (GB/Ford), 198 points; 3 Smith, 192.
Next round: Silverstone, 16/07/95
-- Stephen M Baines
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