NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP Silverstone, 18/05/96 BMW driver Roberto Ravaglia and Audi's Frank Biela will share the pole position honours in tomorrow's (Sun) seventh and eighth rounds of the Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship at Silverstone.
Ravaglia beat his BMW team-mate Jo Winkelhock to the pole in qualifying for round seven, with championship leader Biela making the most of his Audi's four-wheel drive to head Alain Menu's Renault in the damp eighth-round session.
The most titled driver in touring car racing, Ravaglia achieved his first BTCC pole in dramatic style, putting in one quick flying lap at the start of the session before blowing up his engine. His 1m 25.139s lap was just over a tenth of a second quicker than his team-mate's best. Winkelhock made only a brief appearance also -- his quick time was set at the end of the session after electrical problems had detained him in the pits for much of qualifying.
The electrical problems which Biela suffered in testing yesterday continued into first qualifying -- he was an unaccustomed ninth fastest, behind his Audi team-mate John Bintcliffe. Said Biela: 'Today the car is slow. Don't ask me why...' He put his troubles behind him in the second session, however, to claim top spot on a tricky, intermittently damp track. He was nearly half a second clear of Menu. Tomorrow's races are the last before an extra 30kg weight handicap is imposed on Audi's four-wheel-drive A4s; so far this season Biela has won four races from six starts. With less than a second covering the top 13 dry-weather qualifiers on the new Silverstone International circuit layout, the omens look excellent for a close pair of races tomorrow. Official qualifying: Round 7 1 Roberto Ravaglia (It), BMW 320i, 1m 25.139s, 93.65mph; 2 Jo Winkelhock (Ger), BMW 320i, 1:25.150; 3 Kelvin Burt (GB), Volvo 850, 1:25.168; 4 David Leslie (GB), Honda Accord, 1:25.217; 5 James Kaye (GB), Honda Accord, 1:25.333; 6 Rickard Rydell (Swe), Volvo 850, 1:25.396; 7 Alain Menu (Switz), Renault Laguna, 1:25.458; 8 John Bintcliffe (GB), Audi A4, 1:25.502; 9 Frank Biela (Ger), Audi A4, 1:25.512; 10 Will Hoy (GB), Renault Laguna, 1:25.516, etc. Official qualifying: Round 8 1 Biela, 1:34.057s, 84.77mph; 2 Menu, 1:34.534; 3 Winkelhock, 1:34.569; 4 John Cleland (GB), Vauxhall Vectra, 1:34.865; 5 Burt, 1:34.940; 6 Ravaglia, 1:35.192; 7 Hoy, 1:35.220; 8 Bintcliffe, 1:35.237; 9 Leslie, 1:35.278; 10 James Thompson (GB), Vauxhall Vectra, 1:35.297, etc.
-- Official BTCC website: Best in British Motor Sport http://www.demon.co.uk/racing