Round Venue Date 15-16 of 26 Snetterton July 17
IMPROVED FORM SEES MENU IN PODIUM CONTENTION
SNETTERTON, July 17, 1999: Ford Team Mondeo saw a certain top three finish swiped from its grasp in the inaugural night race of the Auto Trader BTCC at Snetterton circuit, Norfolk, with only an on-track altercation preventing Alain Menu from securing a podium place.
The team had a troubled One Shot Showdown qualifying session with both drivers making mistakes which were reflected in their relatively low qualifying positions.
Swiss ace Menu made an impeccable startline getaway in his Mondeo in the Sprint Race stealing into ninth by the end of the first lap, then making up a further two by the end of the second lap.
He finished eighth after a tight race with Muller and Thompson culminated in a dash for the line after the safety car intervened just two laps before the end of the race. A pleased Menu said, "I must be very pleased to finish eighth after starting so far down the grid. The car felt good throughout the race. My lap times were consistently on the pace. I hope I can gain this many places in the Feature Race!"
Mondeo teammate Reid had no such luck in the Sprint Race. Reid gained two places from his lowly grid position by the second lap, but was forced to retire nine laps later with an oil leak in the engine.
A solid qualifying lap from Alain Menu put him in an encouraging sixth spot on the grid for the Feature Race. Teammate Reid did not get to grips with the oversteer in the session, leaving him in 12th position on the grid.
Menu pulled away from the line well, working up to lead the race for three laps during the pitstops. A strong pit stop from the Ford Team Mondeo pit crew allowed Menu to rejoin the race in third place. However, his bid for a podium finish was effectively halted when nudged by Muller, forcing him to spin off the track. He rejoined the race lapping quicker than the rest for much of the remaining laps, finally finishing in ninth spot.
Menu commented, "I am bitterly disappointed not to have finished in the top three. I lost 25 seconds when I span, but the race went very well apart from that. There is no doubt this weekend's new format has been a great success. It certainly drew the crowds and it seems like the spectators really enjoyed the racing."
Fellow Ford Mondeo driver Reid started the Feature Race from 12th position and made steady progress throughout the race, but his tyre choice lost balance. The team made an excellent pit stop on lap 13 allowing Reid to rejoin the race in eighth place, but he soon found the headlights of Aiello in his mirrors. Aiello eventually took his opportunity at Riches Corner on lap 22 after several earlier attempts. Reid lost a further two places in the closing stages to Neal and then Menu as the three all pushed hard for the finishing line.
Reid commented, "I am disappointed with my final placings, but the day has been a real spectacle for the crowd. The two races were very exciting and I think the first BTCC night race has been a real success."
1999 AUTO TRADER BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP PROVISIONAL RESULTS (ROUND 15/16)
Round 15 (Sprint Race)
1 David Leslie Nissan Primera 2 Rickard Rydell Volvo S40 3 Vincent Radermecker Volvo S40 8 Alain Menu Ford Mondeo DNF Anthony Reid Ford Mondeo
Round 16 (Feature Race)
1 Peter Kox Honda Accord 2 David Leslie Nissan Primera 3 Yvan Muller Vauxhall Vectra 9 Alain Menu Ford Mondeo 11 Anthony Reid Ford Mondeo
Championship Points Drivers Championship Total Manufacturers Total 1. Laurent Aiello 147 1. Nissan 312 2. David Leslie 135 2. Honda 198 3. James Thompson 120 3. Renault 162 11. Alain Menu 45 6. Ford 88 12. Anthony Reid 40