BTCC: Oulton Park qualifying

NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP Oulton Park, 26/5/96 THE Audi team made light work of both the weather and the imposition of an extra 30kg in ballast with a dominant display at Oulton Park this afternoon (Sun) in ...

NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP Oulton Park, 26/5/96 THE Audi team made light work of both the weather and the imposition of an extra 30kg in ballast with a dominant display at Oulton Park this afternoon (Sun) in official qualifying for tomorrow's rounds nine and 10 of the Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship.

Team leader Frank Biela made the best of his car's four-wheel drive to lap the wet and slippery Cheshire track a second-and-a-quarter quicker than his nearest two-wheel-drive rival in qualifying for round nine, then displayed impeccable timing in the second session as the circuit dried out in the closing minutes to grab the qualifying top spot for round 10 also.

Underlining the Audi advantage, Biela's British team-mate John Bintcliffe was second quickest in the wet, ahead of the BMW of double '96 race winner Jo Winkelhock and the Volvo of Rickard Rydell. Qualifying for round 10 was a question of being on the track at the right time, and on the right tyres. It started wet but rapidly dried, and most of the top grid positions were bagged literally on the last flying lap of the session. Again Biela came out on top, by a second from Winkelhock, Rydell and Bintcliffe.

Tomorrow's races will be the first for the Audis at their new weight of 1070kg. The rear-drive BMWs are allowed to compete at 1000kg and the front-drive cars -- the rest of the field -- at 975kg. Said championship leader Biela: 'In the wet there's no problem; it's difficult to judge the effect of the extra weight. If it's dry you can really tell the difference, particularly over a race distance...'

German ace Biela, victor five times from eight races this season, has yet to lose a BTCC race from the pole. He now leads the championship by 38 points from BMW's Roberto Ravaglia.

Drivers in trouble today included Will Hoy, whose Renault Laguna blew an engine, leaving him 12th on the grid for round nine, and Robb Gravett, who crashed his Total Cup Ford Mondeo after losing his brakes. Spinners included James Kaye (Honda) and Silverstone victor Kelvin Burt (Volvo).

OFFICIAL QUALIFYING: ROUND 9 1 Frank Biela (Ger), Audi A4, 1m 51.276s, 89.77mph / 144.48kmh; 2 John Bintcliffe (GB), Audi A4, 1:51.592; 3 Jo Winkelhock (Ger), BMW 320i, 1:52.518; 4 Rickard Rydell (Swe), Volvo 850, 1:53.106; 5 James Thompson (GB), Vauxhall Vectra, 1:53.194; 6 Alain Menu (Switz), Renault Laguna, 1:53.246; 7 Kelvin Burt (GB), Volvo 850, 1:53.275; 8 John Cleland (GB), Vauxhall Vectra, 1:53.300; 9 Paul Radisich (NZ), Ford Mondeo, 1:53.439; 10 David Leslie (GB), Honda Accord, 1:53.661.

OFFICIAL QUALIFYING: ROUND 10 1 Biela, 1:51.163, 89.86mph/144.62kmh; 2 Winkelhock, 1:52.161; 3 Rydell, 1:52.280; 4 Bintcliffe, 1:52.535; 5 Menu, 1:52.537; 6 Roberto Ravaglia (It), BMW 320i, 1:52.556; 7 Thompson, 1:52.866; 8 Radisich, 1:53.156; 9 Will Hoy (GB), Renault Laguna, 1:53.286; 10 Patrick Watts (GB), Peugeot 406, 1:53.300.

-- Official BTCC website: Best in British Motor Sport http://www.demon.co.uk/racing

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