NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP 5/12/96
RADISICH RE-SIGNS WITH FORD
Double Touring Car World Cup Champion Paul Radisich will again race a Ford Mondeo in next year's Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship, it is announced today (Thurs). The 34-year-old New Zealander will partner former BTCC champion Will Hoy in the works Ford team.
Today's announcement ends two months of speculation about Radisich's future; his name had been linked with drives for Honda, Renault and Audi after four years with Ford. Said Radisich: 'Ford has really changed the structure of its touring car programme. There is a great deal of work going into both the new car and the engine development project, and I think we are in a better position to be competitive than at any time previously. I am really looking forward to the challenge.'
The Kiwi first raced for Ford in 1993, and was third in the drivers' championship in '93 and '94 in addition to winning the prestigious FIA Touring Car World Cup both years. He has six BTCC race wins to his credit, but failed to add to his tally in '96.
Radisich's signing virtually completes the driver line-ups for next season's Auto Trader Championship. Other star names set to contest the 24-race series include former Grand Prix driver Derek Warwick, who will partner double BTCC champion John Cleland at Vauxhall, and 1994 champion and ex-F1 man Gabriele Tarquini, who joins James Thompson at Honda. Swede Rickard Rydell will once again be teamed with Kelvin Burt at Volvo, while Nissan will field David Leslie and Anthony Reid. Peugeot is expected to retain 1992 champion Tim Harvey and Patrick Watts. There is no official confirmation so far from Renault as to the identity of Alain Menu's team-mate, nor from Audi as to its driver line-up, though reigning champion Frank Biela is expected to return to defend his title.
* The BBC has announced that not only will it be broadcasting live coverage of six rounds of the 1997 Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship, but that it will also anchor its top-rating Grandstand show from the three selected BTCC meetings -- Brands Hatch (May 18), Donington Park (June 15) and Knockhill (August 3). In addition to the live screenings, Grandstand will show extended coverage of the other 18 races in the championship, which starts at Donington on March 31.
-- Official BTCC website: Best in British Motor Sport http://www.demon.co.uk/racing