News from the Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship Silverstone 25/4/98 British young guns James Thompson and Jason Plato dominated qualifying for Sunday's two rounds of the Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship to be held...
News from the Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship Silverstone 25/4/98
British young guns James Thompson and Jason Plato dominated qualifying for Sunday's two rounds of the Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship to be held on the Silverstone International Circuit.
Thompson, who celebrates his 24th birthday tomorrow (Sunday), will start the first Sprint Race from pole position after setting the fastest time in the thrilling One Shot Showdown qualifying session while Plato, 29, qualified first for the longer Feature Race which incorporates mandatory pit-stops. Making it an all British front row for rounds 3 and 4, David Leslie lines up in second place for both Feature and Sprint Races.
Jason Plato took his first pole position of the season by setting the fastest time in the morning session on a drying track. As the circuit dried all the front-runners switched from grooved to slick tyres for a thrilling climax. Plato timed his run perfectly to pip Leslie who had seemed certain to top the final time sheets.
Having set the fastest time in the wet early morning warm-up, series leader Rickard Rydell could manage no better than 12th place while his Volvo team-mate Gianni Morbidelli added to Volvo's misery - the Italian former F1 racer slid off the circuit at Abbey Corner and now starts Sunday's pit-stop Feature race from a lowly 16th place on the grid. Both enjoyed better luck in the afternoon session claiming fourth and sixth starting positions.
There were mixed fortunes for reigning champion Alain Menu too. The Swiss star took third place for the Feature Race but once again fell foul of the One Shot Showdown, spinning his Renault off the track on his one timed lap. Menu will thus again start the Sprint Race from the back of the grid.
Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship Official qualifying / Silverstone / April 25
Grid for round 3 1 James Thompson (GB), Honda Accord, 1m 23.859s, 96.67mph 2 David Leslie (GB), Nissan Primera, 1m 23.943s 3 Jason Plato (GB), Renault Laguna, 1m 24.373s 4 Gianni Morbidelli (I), Volvo S40, 1m 24.599s 5 Derek Warwick (GB), Vauxhall Vectra, 1m 24.600s
Grid for round 4 1 Jason Plato (GB), Renault Laguna, 1m 24.948s, 95.43mph; 2 David Leslie (GB), Nissan Primera, 1m 25.157s 3 Alain Menu (SWI), Renault Laguna, 1m 25.699s 4 James Thompson (GB), Honda Accord, 1m 25.842s 5 Yvan Muller (F), Audi A4, 1m 26.129s
-- Official BTCC website www.btcc.co.uk