NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP Silverstone, 14/07/96 DAVID LESLIE and the Honda team made up for their disappointment of yesterday to take victory in this afternoon's (Sun) 16th round of the Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship at Silverstone.
It was Honda's first BTCC victory, made all the sweeter for coming after yesterday's round 15 incident, in which Leslie was knocked from contention for the lead by the Volvo of Rickard Rydell, a manoeuvre for which the Swede was later reprimanded by stewards.
Leslie, who started from pole position, made no mistake at the start of the race. Although outdragged initially by the four-wheel-drive Audi A4 of championship leader Frank Biela, Leslie's Honda Accord quickly re-established itself in front, holding a half-second lead over Biela at the end of the first lap.
The Scotsman becomes the eighth different driver to win an Auto Trader Championship round, and Honda the sixth different manufacturer.
Although Leslie's position never came under serious attack, he was certainly made to work hard for his first victory since joining the Honda team. Biela was never less than a second behind throughout, while yesterday's 15th round victor, Robert Ravaglia (BMW), held a watching brief in third. Ravaglia meanwhile had Rydell's Volvo breathing down his neck.
At the chequered flag less than two seconds covered the top four, with a down-on-power Renault of Alain Menu further adrift in fifth. Sixth place was disputed throughout the race by Kelvin Burt (Volvo), James Thompson (Vauxhall) and Will Hoy (Renault), with Hoy coming out ahead of Thompson and Burt.
Biela's second position today further strengthens his hand in the championship. He now has 171 points, 55 more than second-place man Menu. In the manufacturers' battle, Audi enjoys a 10-point advantage over BMW.
Leslie said after the race: 'It's an absolutely fantastic result. Everyone has worked so hard since we entered the championship at the beginning of last year. I was under a lot of pressure throughout the race but I didn't make any mistakes -- and no-one hit me this time!'
Frank Biela said: I thought if I could stay in front for the first lap I could perhaps win but Leslie came flying past and there was no way I could keep him behind. Second was a fantastic result and together with the third place I scored yesterday is more than I could ever have hoped for...' RESULTS Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship, round 16 15 laps -- 47.33 miles / 76.16km 1 David Leslie (GB), Honda Accord, 29m 56.27s, 94.75mph/152.49kmh; 2 Frank Biela (Ger), Audi A4, +0.88s; 3 Roberto Ravaglia (It), BMW 320i, +1.36s; 4 Rickard Rydell (Swe), Volvo 850, +1.81s; 5 Alain Menu (Switz), Renault Laguna, +4.67s; 6 Will Hoy (GB), Renault Laguna, +22.68s; 7 James Thompson (GB), Vauxhall Vectra, +23.16s; 8 Kelvin Burt (GB), Volvo 850, +23.84s; 9 Paul Radisich (NZ), Ford Mondeo, +24.69s; 10 John Bintcliffe (GB), Audi A4, +25.35s. Total Cup Privateers: Richard Kaye (GB), Vauxhall Cavalier. Fastest lap: Rydell, 1m 58.71s, 95.58mph/153.83kmh. CHAMPIONSHIP POSITIONS Drivers: 1 Biela, 171 points; 2 Menu, 116; 3 Rydell, 115; 4 Jo Winkelhock (Ger/BMW), 106; 5 Ravaglia, 97; 6 Bintcliffe, 80; 7 Hoy, 69; =8 John Cleland (GB/Vauxhall) & Leslie, 66; 10 Thompson, 64. Manufacturers: 1 Audi, 181; 2 BMW, 171; 3 Renault, 154; 4 Volvo, 150; 5 Vauxhall, 118; 6 Honda, 100; 7 Peugeot, 54; 8 Ford, 48. Total Cup Privateers: 1 Lee Brookes (GB/Toyota), 190; 2 Richard Kaye, 175.
-- Official BTCC website: Best in British Motor Sport http://www.demon.co.uk/racing