BTCC: Thruxton report

Thruxton BTCC Menu & Thompson Win at Thruxton Alain Menu and James Thompson were the winners at Thruxton this afternoon (Monday), in rounds 5 & 6 of the 1995 Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship. Swiss Renault driver Menu...

Thruxton BTCC

Menu & Thompson Win at Thruxton

Alain Menu and James Thompson were the winners at Thruxton this afternoon (Monday), in rounds 5 & 6 of the 1995 Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship. Swiss Renault driver Menu scored his first race victory of the year, while Thompson, at 21, became the youngest ever winner in the series. Round five was a lights-to-flag demonstration of superiority by Menu, who scored the maiden win for the Williams-prepared Renault Laguna. Menu assumed command on the opening lap after a perfectly executed start from pole position. John Cleland, Vauxhall team leader, persued Menu for the entire race, fighting past the Ford Mondeo of Kiwi Paul Radisich on the opening lap and closing the gap between himself and Menu inch by inch. Four laps from home, Cleland was right on Menu's tail and pushing for all he was worth, but he could find no answer to the Renault's speed on this, the fastest track on the BTCC calendar. Menu and Cleland were separated by just 0.33 seconds at the chequered flag.

Cleland's Vauxhall team mate, James Thompson, looked set to claim third place until a puncture five laps from home ended his race. Thompson has earlier disposed of the Fords of Radisich and Burt - and both these men subsequently disappeared from the race also, Radisich with engine problems, and Burt after an off-track excursion.

That left third place in the hands of Patrick Watts and his Peugeot 405, with Tim Sugden taking fourth for Toyota. The hitherto dominant Volvo challenge faded early. Rickard Rydell recovered to ninth, Harvey to 15th.

Round six was restarted after a first-lap crash caused by Australian Charlie Cox blocked the circuit; his car was extensively damaged but he was unhurt. Thompson led all the way from the pole in a copybook performance, persued by Menu and Burt.

A late charge from Rydell saw the Swede take fourth place and harass    
Burt for third. Cleland made a bad start from fifth on the grid to      
slip to ninth on the opening lap, but recovered to fifth at the flag.   
Will Hoy nearly failed to make the start after repairs to his Renault   
Laguna overran; his second position on the grid proved little benefit,  
however, as he retired on the first lap.                                

With the championship now heading for Silverston at the weekend, the new leader of the series - which has seen five different winners in six races - is Alain Menu, who holds a narrow advantage over Cleland and Harvey.

Of round 5, Cleland said "That was a fantastic race. I was all over Menu, but he was being double careful. . . . In the second race I was just a little too cautious with my start and got bogged down. That meant I had to fight my way through the field".

Thompson: "I was disappointed after my puncure in the first of the two races, but I've forgotten all about that now! I was mainly anxious not to make a bad start, as I've already made too many this season. Sometimes the tyre smoke has left the grid before I have!"

Round 5

1.        Alain Menu                Renault                26m39.08s        106.08mph
2.        John Cleland                Vauxhall        +0.33
3.        Patrick Watts                Peugeot                +26.17
4.        Tim Sugden                Toyota                +29.48
5.        David Brabham                BMW                +30.55
6.        Giampiero Simoni        Alfa Romeo        +30.90
7.        Julian Bailey                Toyota                +32.72
8.        David Leslie                Honda                +37.59
9.        Rickard Rydell                Volvo                +46.53
10.        Simon Harrison                Peugeot                +47.33

Round 6

1.        James Thompson                Vauxhall        22m38.48s        106.13mph
2.        Menu                                        +2.85s
3.        Kelvin Burt                Ford                +6.90s
4.        Rydell                                        +7.09s
5.        Cleland                                        +13.68s
6.        Paul Radisich                Ford                +14.90s
7.        Tim Harvey                Volvo                +16.85s
8.        Bailey                                        +17.17s
9.        Harrison                                +19.64s
10.        Simoni                                        +21.14s

Championship Positions

1. Menu (76) 2. Cleland (68) 3. Harvey (67) 4. Rydell (58) 5. Thompson (50) 6. Radisich (42)

1. Vauxhall (102) 2. Volvo (95) 3. Renault (88) 4. Ford (64) 5. BMW (49) 6. Toyota (40)

Results and Report provided by Vauxhall Sport -- Stephen M Baines

"[The Autosport sticker] started to peel off in the middle of Eau Rouge and it distracted me. In fact it was the first thing to hit the barrier" Tiff Needell - Jaguar XJR-15 Challenge - Interview with Autosport

F1/TouringCars http://turnpike.net/metro/vollans/index.html

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