NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP: Oulton Park, 12/3/98
CHAMP MENU BACK ON TOP AT OULTON
Reigning champion Alain Menu set the pace in his Renault at Oulton Park today (Thurs) in the second official test session for the 1998 Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship.
Knocked off the timesheet top spot yesterday by James Thompson, Swiss ace Menu edged ahead of the Honda man by six-hundredths of a second today to prove that his Laguna has lost little of its form over the winter. However, Menu was still half a second shy of his qualifying record for the Cheshire track.
Third quickest today - before damp weather took its toll on track conditions - was the Nissan of David Leslie, with Tim Harvey an encouraging fourth fastest for Peugeot. Italian ex-F1 star Gianni Morbidelli made Volvo the fifth different manufacturer in the top five.
Less than a second covered the top 13 runners in the dry. In this afternoon's rain, it was Leslie who made the pace for Nissan.
The Auto Trader BTCC test programme moves to Donington Park next week, where the championship's new 'One-Shot Showdown' qualifying procedure will be tried for the first time; first round of the championship is at Thruxton in Hampshire on April 13.
Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship Official testing / Oulton Park, Cheshire / 12 March 1998 1 Alain Menu SWI Renault Laguna 0m 59.344s 100.33mph/161.43kmh 2 James Thompson GB Honda Accord 0m 59.404s 3 David Leslie GB Nissan Primera 0m 59.409s 4 Tim Harvey GB Peugeot 406 0m 59.574s 5 Gianni Morbidelli ITA Volvo S40 0m 59.674s 6 Peter Kox NL Honda Accord 0m 59.712s 7 John Bintcliffe GB Audi A4 0m 59.764s 8 Jason Plato GB Renault Laguna 0m 59.890s 9 Yvan Muller FRA Audi A4 0m 59.925s 10 Paul Radisich NZ Peugeot 406 1m 00.097s
-- BTCC official website www.btcc.co.uk