Snetterton, Norfolk. Sun 27/08/95

Rickard Rydell hopes of closing the gap between himself and series leader John Cleland were raised today (Sunday) when the Swede took pole positions for both of tomorrow's rounds of the Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship to be held at Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk.

It marked the twelfth and thirteenth times that the Volvo driver has claimed pole position in the first 21 qualifying sessions of the season. However, Rydell who trails Cleland by 40 points in the series standings, is notorious for throwing away his front row advantage by making slow starts.

With just six rounds left in the '95 championship and 24 points awarded to the winner of each of tomorrow's races, Rydell can ill afford any more costly mistakes... particularly as the Renault of arch-rival Alain Menu's lines up alongside the Volvo at the front of the grid for both 20 lap races.

Like Rydell, Menu desperately needs two good results to maintain his challenge - after 19 races he lays third in the points table 68 points adrift of series leader John Cleland who starts tomorrow's races from third and sixth places on the grid respectively.

Privateer Matthew Neal provided the biggest shock of the day by qualifying his privately entered Ford Mondeo in a superb fifth place for round 21... in front of the two factory-backed cars of Paul Radisich and Kelvin Burt.

QUALIFYING/STARTING GRID - Round 20 Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship Snetterton, Norfolk. Sun 27/08/95

1 Rickard Rydell (Swe), Volvo 850 - 1 minutes 12.369 seconds, 97.10mph 2 Alain Menu (Swi), Renault Laguna - 1:12.386 3 John Cleland (GB), Vauxhall Cavalier - 1:12.507s 4 Tim Harvey (GB), Volvo 850 - 1:12.559s 5 Julian Bailey (GB), Toyota Carina - 1:12.799s 6 James Kaye (GB), Honda Accord - 1:12.800s 7 Paul Radisich (NZ), Ford Mondeo - 1:12.827s 8 Robb Gravett (GB, Ford Mondeo - 1:12.835s 9 Kelvin Burt (GB), Ford Mondeo - 1:12.920s 10 Johnny Cecotto (Ven), BMW 318i - 1:12.938s


1 Rydell - 1:12.137s, 97.41mph 2 Menu - 1:12.603s 3 Harvey - 1:12.686s 4 Will Hoy (GB), Renault Laguna - 1:12.695s 5 Matthew Neal (GB), Ford Mondeo - 1:12.736s 6 Cleland - 1:12.821s 7 Tim Sugden (GB), Toyota Carina - 1:12.857s 8 Mike Briggs (ZA), Vauxhall Cavalier - 1:12.916s 9 Radisich - 1:12.931s 10 Simon Harrison (GB), Peugeot 405 - 1:12.970s

Vauxhall and Volvo teams have withdrawn the appeals lodged with officials after the last two rounds of the Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship held at Brands Hatch on 13 August. These appeals followed a couple of controversial on-track clashes between the two leading title protagonists: Vauxhall's John Cleland and Volvo's Rickard Rydell.

Both teams say they have dropped their respective appeals in the best interests of the BTCC and of the sport in general.

"It leaves the way open for the championship to reach an exciting conclusion," says series leader Cleland. "Both Rickard and I are determined to win the title, but we both agree we want to win it on the racetrack."

Speaking on behalf of Volvo, TWR Racing's Team Director Roger Silman says: "I think we are all pleased that the battle can and should be confined to the racetrack. Now we want to concentrate the minds of both Rickard and the team towards what is still a realistic shot at the title."

The title chase continues at the Snetterton Circuit in Norfolk this Bank Holiday Monday 28 August with rounds 20 and 21 of the hard fought 25 race Auto Trader Championship.

Max Communications Best in British Motor Sport website