NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP, 10/4/97 Renault's Alain Menu, points leader of the Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship, underlined his strong early-season form by dominating official testing at Thruxton. After sessions at the Hampshire circuit yesterday (Weds) and this afternoon, Swiss star Menu, 32, completed the tests four-hundredths of a second ahead of his nearest track rival, Honda's James Thompson. Menu's best time from the two days was a tenth of a second under the Thruxton qualifying lap record.
Menu won both opening BTCC rounds at Donington Park over Easter, and will be bidding to increase his lead at Silverstone next week in rounds three and four of the televised series.
He said: ''We are very happy with the way things are going at the moment. Everything is working very well but the others are close and it could all change...''
Thompson was a tenth of a second quicker than his Honda team-mate Gabriele Tarquini, with reigning champion Frank Biela fourth fastest for Audi.
Rounds three and four of Britain's top motor sport draw take place at Silverstone in Northamptonshire a week on Sunday (Apr 20), with the circus returning to Thruxton on Bank Holiday Monday (May 5) for rounds five and six. Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship Official testing, Thruxton, 9-10/4/97 1 Alain Menu (Switz), Renault Laguna, 1m 16.553s (Thurs); 2 James Thompson (GB), Honda Accord, 1m 16.599s (Thurs); 3 Gabriele Tarquini (It), Honda Accord, 1m 16.697s (Thurs); 4 Frank Biela (Ger), Audi A4, 1m 16.867s (Thurs); 5 John Bintcliffe (GB), Audi A4, 1m 16.940s (Weds).
------ BTCC97 www.demon.co.uk/racing/