Donington Park, 5/4/96
Swede Rickard Rydell and the Volvo team today (Fri) threw down the gauntlet to their rivals in the Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship by posting quickest time at Donington Park in final testing for Monday's opening rounds of the 1996 championship.
But with less than two-tenths of a second separating the top four manufacturers, it's clear that this year's BTCC is shaping up to be the closest yet.
Second quickest today -- just three-hundredths slower than Rydell -- was series newcomer Frank Biela in the four-wheel-drive Audi A4, with 1993 Champion Jo Winkelhock third fastest for BMW and Will Hoy fourth -- and top Brit -- for Renault. Reigning Champion John Cleland (Vauxhall) was eighth quickest.
Official qualifying takes place at Donington Park on Sunday. The Derby circuit is expecting a record crowd for Monday's rounds one and two of the Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship.
Top testing times 1 Rickard Rydell (Swe), Volvo 850, 1m 37.183s; 2 Frank Biela (Ger), Audi A4, 1m 37.186s; 3 Jo Winkelhock (Ger), BMW 320i, 1m 37.220s; 4 Will Hoy (GB), Renault Laguna, 1m 37.338s; 5 Alain Menu (Switz), Renault Laguna, 1m 37.449s; 6 Robert Ravaglia (It), BMW 320i, 1m 37.518s; 7 James Thompson (GB), Vauxhall Vectra, 1m 37.559s; 8 John Cleland (GB), Vauxhall Vectra, 1m 37.607s; 9 David Leslie (GB), Honda Accord, 1m 37.628s; 10 Kelvin Burt (GB), Volvo 850, 1m 37.640s; 11 James Kaye (GB), Honda Accord, 1m 37.665s; 12 John Bintcliffe (GB), Audi A4, 1m 37.896s; 13 Paul Radisich (NZ), Ford Mondeo, 1m 38.289s; 14 Richard Kaye (GB), Vauxhall Cavalier, 1m 39.274s; 15 Patrick Watts (GB), Peugeot 406, 1m 39.279s.
-- Official BTCC website: Best in British Motor Sport http://www.demon.co.uk/racing