NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP Thruxton, 24/8/96 There was mixed weather and mixed fortunes for the top men in the Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship at Thruxton today (Saty) as they battled for grid positions for Monday's vital rounds 21 and 22 of the series.
Renault staged a front-row grid lock-out in the first of the day's qualifying sessions, Alain Menu heading team-mate Will Hoy, with BMW men Roberto Ravaglia and Jo Winkelhock third and fourth fastest.
But damp track conditions in qualifying for round 22 caught out many drivers, Menu included -- the Swiss ace will start from 11th on the grid. Quickest in the wet was Winkelhock, with Rickard Rydell second for Volvo and James Thompson third in his Vauxhall.
Monday's twin races are crucial for the title aspirations of Audi's Frank Biela, but the German was in subdued form at Thruxton, posting eighth and seventh-best times in the respective sessions. One win or a couple of podium placings on Monday will set the seal on Biela's campaign for the drivers' crown.
OFFICIAL QUALIFYING: ROUND 21 1 Alain Menu (Switz), Renault Laguna, 1m 16.776s, 110.47mph; 2 Will Hoy (GB), Renault Laguna, 1:17.005; 3 Roberto Ravaglia (It), BMW 320i, 1:17.043; 4 Jo Winkelhock (Ger), BMW 320i, 1:17.055; 5 Rickard Rydell (Swe), Volvo 850, 1:17.140; 6 David Leslie (GB), Honda Accord, 1:17.267; 7 John Cleland (GB), Vauxhall Vectra, 1:17.669; 8 Frank Biela (Ger), Audi A4, 1:17.742; 9 Peter Kox (Neth), BMW 320i, 1:17.855; 10 James Thompson (GB), Vauxhall Vectra, 1:18.035. OFFICIAL QUALIFYING: ROUND 22 1 Winkelhock, 1:26.567, 97.97mph; 2 Rydell, 1:26.957; 3 Thompson, 1:27.088; 4 Hoy, 1:27.227; 5 Leslie, 1:27.307; 6 Ravaglia, 1:27.612; 7 Biela, 1:27.634; 8 Kox, 1:27.738; 9 Patrick Watts (GB), Peugeot 406, 1:27.788; 10 Kelvin Burt (GB), Volvo 850, 1:27.798. -- Official BTCC website: Best in British Motor Sport http://www.demon.co.uk/racing