MISSED OPPORTUNITIES FOR FORD TEAM MONDEO
THRUXTON, May 3 1999: Ford Team Mondeo missed out on potential good results in Rounds five and six of the Auto Trader British Touring Car Championship as drivers Anthony Reid and Alain Menu's cars suffered accident damage as the innocent victims of other drivers' incidents.
Starting from fifth on the grid for the third time, Menu made another great start to the Sprint Race and quickly gained time on the leading pack. Jostling for track position on the first lap, the drama began as Laurent Aiello slid wide at Church corner, forcing Jason Plato to do likewise. When Menu tried to slip through on the inside, he was punted off into the grass by the sliding Plato. Menu said: "I'm disappointed because if I'd squeezed through the gap, I would have been in third place and who knows what would have happened."
Starting the Sprint Race from ninth, fellow Ford Team Mondeo driver Anthony Reid kept out of trouble for most of the race, but lost a place to John Cleland when he locked his brakes at the Chicane on lap nine. He was locked in a three way battle throughout the remainder of the race between the Scot and Jean-Christophe Boullion just behind him. He finished the race in eighth place.
In the Feature Race, Reid made his fastest start of the season, jumping from seventh to fifth on the first lap to nestle behind his team mate Menu. Following a tussle between Menu and David Leslie at the Complex, Reid took advantage and moved into fourth and began to chase the leaders. Leslie outbraked himself coming in to the Chicane, skewed across the slip road and then rejoined the track right in front of Reid, who had nowhere to go. Reid said: "I can't believe what happened. Leslie braked too hard and completely missed the chicane. To my amazement, he rejoined the track at a much slower speed and cut across my bows. I had nowhere to go."
The front of the Ford Mondeo was extensively damaged and the Scot retired in the pits after one slow lap. Reflecting on a missed opportunity, he said: "The car felt good. Both Alain and I were gaining places and a good result was a real possibility."
Swiss ace Menu, starting again from fifth, was again out of the blocks at his now customary lightning pace to take third placed Leslie, but lost his position before the end of the lap in some close racing.
Menu's rear valence was damaged as he tried to avoid the Reid/Leslie incident, and at his scheduled pit stop repairs to the bodywork delayed his exit. A drive through penalty for speeding in the pit lane further delayed Menu. He thus dropped to tenth place but battled his way through the field to finish sixth. Menu said: "It has been a disappointing day for me."
The next two rounds of the Championship are at Brands Hatch on May 18.
1999 AUTO TRADER BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP PROVISIONAL RESULTS (ROUND 5/6)
Round 5 (Sprint Race) 1 Laurent Aiello Nissan Primera 2 Rickard Rydell Volvo S40 3 Matt Neal Nissan Primera 8 Anthony Reid Ford Mondeo DNF Alain Menu Ford Mondeo
Round 6 (Feature Race) 1 Laurent Aiello Nissan Primera 2 Rickard Rydell Volvo S40 3 Vincent Radermecker Volvo S40 6 Alain Menu Ford Mondeo DNF Anthony Reid Ford Mondeo
Championship Points Drivers Championship Total Manufacturers Total 1. James Thompson 52 1. Nissan 105 2. Laurent Aiello 52 2. Honda 78 3. Jason Plato 50 3. Renault 75 12 Alain Menu 17 6. Ford 25 13 Anthony Reid 7