It was a barren day for New Zealand in the BTCC - Paul Radisich forced out of both rounds 23 and 24 and Craig Baird dropped by Ford just two weeks short of the 1998 season finale.

Saturday qualifying was dominated by heavy intermittent rain, which coincided with Radisich's window in the one-shot-showdown, assuring him of a 17th on the grid for the sprint race compared with a healthier eleventh for round 24.

Radisich's best chance for a good top ten result was crushed when his 406 was sent hurtling into the barriers by defending champion Alain Menu's Renault during a three-abreast battle for eighth place on the second of the 40 lap feature race ( round 24.) Radisich's injured Peugeot was removed under safety car laps, the damage more severe than that he sustained in the earlier sprint race.

Round 23 had a similar result, although the Peugeot driver notched up thirteen laps before his move on the Volvo of Gianni Morbidelli. As the two drivers approached Lodge, Radisich tried to outbrake the Volvo, but as Morbidelli turned in to the corner, the S40 hit the Peugeot's front wing and damaged the steering, forcing Radisich to retire.

13th September was however lucky for Nissan, wrapping up the manufacturers title today on only their second season in the BTCC. But as predicted the drivers championship goes down to wire, with Nissan's Anthony Reid and Volvo's Rickard Rydell now separated by only nine points after their four mandatory dropped scores. Championship honours will be Rydell's for the taking if he finishes on the podium in both races.

Silverstone hosts the series climax next weekend ( 19/20 September ) to complete a highly entertaining and ground-breaking season. In addition to the Nissan / Volvo title battle, Nigel Mansell makes his final of three BTCC appearances and if his previous races are anything to go by, he'll be sure to go out in "style" !