BTCC: Oulton Park testing 96-05-25

NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP Final Official Testing: Oulton Park, 25/5/96 OULTON PARK lap record holder Alain Menu today (Saty) underlined his skill and knowledge of the demanding Cheshire circuit by...

NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP Final Official Testing: Oulton Park, 25/5/96 OULTON PARK lap record holder Alain Menu today (Saty) underlined his skill and knowledge of the demanding Cheshire circuit by topping the timesheets in final official testing for Bank Holiday Monday's twin Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship races.

The Swiss Renault team leader lapped the track in 1m 41.132s -- eight-tenths of a second inside his own qualifying mark, set last year. Said Menu: 'I'm confident that I can get a good grid position tomorrow [Sun] if it's dry, but if it's wet then we will all be playing second fiddle to the Audis.'

Damp weather played into the hands of the Audi team this afternoon, when the four-wheel-drive A4s of championship leader Frank Biela and his team-mate John Bintcliffe comfortably outpaced the front- and rear-wheel-drive opposition, despite the recent imposition on the Audis of an extra 30kg in weight penalties. All today's quick times were set in the dry morning session.

Second and third quickest overall today were the Volvos of Swede Rickard Rydell and Briton Kelvin Burt, with David Leslie fourth for Honda ahead of the BMWs of Jo Winkelhock and Roberto Ravaglia.

Tim Harvey set eighth quickest time in his Peugeot before being sidelined by an off-track excursion. His car was sufficiently damaged for it to require an overnight dash back to the team's Coventry works, but Peugeot is hopeful that it will be repaired in time for what will be Harvey's 150th BTCC race.

Official qualifying for rounds nine and 10 of the Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship takes place at Oulton Park tomorrow (Sun), with record crowds expected at the track on Monday for the twin races. OFFICIAL BTCC TESTING TIMES Oulton Park, 25/5/96 1 Alain Menu (Switz), Renault Laguna, 1m 41.132s; 2 Rickard Rydell (Swe), Volvo 850, 1:41.766; 3 Kelvin Burt (GB), Volvo 850, 1:41.824; 4 David Leslie (GB), Honda Accord, 1:41.920; 5 Jo Winkelhock (Ger), BMW 320i, 1:41.972; 6 Robert Ravaglia (It), BMW 320i, 1:42.009; 7 Frank Biela (Ger), Audi A4, 1:42.283; 8 Tim Harvey (GB), Peugeot 406, 1:42.416; 9 Paul Radisich (NZ), Ford Mondeo, 1:42.496; 10 John Cleland (GB), Vauxhall Vectra, 1:42.593; 11 James Thompson (GB), Vauxhall Vectra, 1:42.922; 12 Patrick Watts (GB), Peugeot 406, 1:43.258. -- Official BTCC website: Best in British Motor Sport http://www.demon.co.uk/racing

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