BTCC: Donington Park report

NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP Donington Park, 8/9/96 Audi claimed the Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship triple crown at Donington Park this afternoon (Sun), clinching the manufacturers' and teams' ...

NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP Donington Park, 8/9/96 Audi claimed the Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship triple crown at Donington Park this afternoon (Sun), clinching the manufacturers' and teams' championships to add to the drivers' title won last month for the German manufacturer by Frank Biela. But Audi and its all-conquering four-wheel-drive A4 saloons were forced to give best in both of today's races at the Derby track, Rickard Rydell winning round 23 for Volvo and David Leslie taking the honours in round 24 in his Honda Accord. Fourth and third places in the respective races was good enough for Biela to complete Audi's clean sweep of the championship titles -- appropriately at the same circuit where he opened his championship campaign in April with a double win. Rydell's round 23 victory was achieved with apparent ease, his Volvo assuming total command of the race after the Swede made an impeccable start from pole position. He was pursued into Redgate Corner by his team-mate Kelvin Burt, who had made an even better start from fourth on the grid, with Will Hoy's Renault, Leslie's Honda and Alain Menu's Renault in line astern. Jo Winkelhock established an unfortunate pattern of luck for the BMW team with a first-corner spin from which he rejoined the race dead last. By lap three Rydell had built up a three-second lead over Burt, but the second Volvo driver was in a far less comfortable position with Hoy, Leslie and Menu clinging to his rear bumper. Hoy looked determined to find a way through and into second throughout the early stages; he made his move at the Goddards hairpin at the end of lap 10, Burt fighting back -- the almost inevitable collision delayed both men badly and let Leslie, Menu and Biela (Audi). Hoy rejoined fifth but poor Burt was demoted to 12th. Hoy was later fined by the stewards, as were Cleland and Bintcliffe. By lap 12 Rydell was eight seconds to the good and had already smashed the lap record, leaving Leslie a lonely run to second place, untroubled by his pursuers Menu, Biela and Hoy. The battle for sixth was won by 1995 champion John Cleland (Vauxhall), who had demoted John Bintcliffe's Audi after a lap 10 clash at Redgate. Winkelhock recovered to seventh, ahead of Bintcliffe, Burt and Tim Harvey (Peugeot). BMW's woes continued with Roberto Ravaglia dropping out of sixth with mechanical problems and Peter Kox forced out of seventh and into the pits for fresh tyres. The second race of the day was again settled on the run down to corner one, but this time it was Leslie who outgunned the rest to claim the lead. Too much wheelspin from pole-sitter Rydell meant he had to settle for second behind Leslie, with Menu just clinging on to third ahead of a charging Biela. Rydell's misery was compounded on the third lap when he peeled into the pits and retirement with transmission problems; Menu moved up into second, with Biela third, Hoy fourth and Ravaglia leading his BMW team-mates Winkelhock and Kox. Leslie maintained a two-second advantage over Menu all the way to the chequered flag, with Biela a confident third ahead of Hoy, who challenged the Audi man for the duration but could not find a way past. The BMWs finished fifth, sixth and seventh, Ravaglia holding off the close attentions of Winkelhock and Kox, with Cleland overcoming team-mate Thompson for eighth. The battle for honours in the Total Cup for Privateers remains unresolved as title protagonists Lee Brookes (Toyota) and Richard Kaye (Vauxhall) head for the final Auto Trader Championship rounds at Brands Hatch in a fortnight. Kaye took first place in round 23, Brookes won round 24 after brake problems struck the Vauxhall man. After the races, Biela said: 'For me, the most important title to win was the drivers' championship but I am delighted for Audi that we have added both the teams' and manufacturers' crowns.' Menu, who trails Rydell by 14 points in the fight for second place in the drivers' championship, said: 'I wasn't too disappointed to see Rydell pull into the pits in the second race but I am still quite a long way behind. However, it's a gap I can still close at Brands.' RESULTS Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship, round 23 18 laps -- 45.00 miles / 72.36km 1 Rickard Rydell (Swe), Volvo 850, 29m 32.21s, 91.41mph/147.11kmh; 2 David Leslie (GB), Honda Accord, +7.19s; 3 Alain Menu (Switz), Renault Laguna, +10.39s; 4 Frank Biela (Ger), Audi A4, +17.75s; 5 Will Hoy (GB), Renault Laguna, +19.57s; 6 John Cleland (GB), Vauxhall Vectra, +24.31s; 7 Jo Winkelhock (Ger), BMW 320i, +31.16s; 8 John Bintcliffe (GB), Audi A4, +33.45s; 9 Kelvin Burt (GB), Volvo 850, +43.19s; 10 Tim Harvey (GB), Peugeot 406, +49.91s; 13 & Total Cup Privateers: Richard Kaye (GB), Vauxhall Cavalier, +1m 07.33s. Fastest lap: Rydell, 1m 37.29s, 92.50mph/148.87kmh (record). Round 24 18 laps -- 45.00 miles / 72.36km 1 Leslie, 29m 34.64s, 91.28mph/146.91kmh; 2 Menu, +2.70s; 3 Biela, +8.09s; 4 Hoy, +8.44s; 5 Roberto Ravaglia (It), BMW 320i, +8.86s; 6 Winkelhock, +10.12s; 7 Peter Kox (Neth), BMW 320i, +10.57s; 8 Cleland, +11.50s; 9 James Thompson (GB), Vauxhall Vectra, +12.40s; 10 James Kaye (GB), Honda Accord, +19.10s; 15 & Total Cup Privateers: Lee Brookes (GB), Toyota Carina E, +1m 14.28s. Fastest lap: Winkelhock, 1m 37.37s, 92.43mph/148.75kmh. CHAMPIONSHIP POSITIONS Drivers: 1 Biela, 266 points; 2 Rydell, 188; 3 Menu, 174; 4 Winkelhock, 146; 5 Ravaglia, 145; 6 Leslie, 143; 7 Bintcliffe, 110; 8 Cleland, 97; 9 Hoy, 92; 10 Thompson, 83. Manufacturers: 1 Audi, 275; 2 BMW, 234; 3 Volvo, 232; 4 Renault, 218; 5 Honda, 183; 6 Vauxhall, 167; 7 Ford, 74; 8 Peugeot, 65. Teams: 1 Audi Sport UK, 370; 2 BMW Team Schnitzer, 289; 3 Williams Renault, 262. Total Cup Privateers: 1 Brookes, 288; 2 Richard Kaye, 272.

-- Official BTCC website: Best in British Motor Sport

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Series BTCC
Drivers Frank Biela , Peter Kox , Tim Harvey , David Leslie , James Thompson , Kelvin Burt , John Cleland , James Kaye , Rickard Rydell , Will Hoy , Roberto Ravaglia , Alain Menu
Teams Williams , BMW Team Schnitzer