BTCC: Donington Qualifying

News from: 3/5/98 RYDELL AND LESLIE SHARE DONINGTON POLE HONOURS Volvo's ace qualifier Rickard Rydell this afternoon (Sun) claimed his third Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship pole position of the season...

News from: 3/5/98


Volvo's ace qualifier Rickard Rydell this afternoon (Sun) claimed his third Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship pole position of the season with a stunning new qualifying lap record for the Donington Park circuit.

Rydell will start tomorrow's Sprint Race, fifth round of the series, from top slot. Nissan's David Leslie - a winner last time out, at Silverstone - claimed the pole for round six, the pit-stop Feature Race.

Rydell's One-Shot Showdown barnstormer, in which he shaved more than half a second from Alain Menu's existing qualifying lap record, went some way towards making up for a major disappointment for the Swede in qualifying for tomorrow's double-length Feature Race. The qualifying session was extremely controversial, with several fancied runners - including Rydell and championship leader Jason Plato - having their best lap times disallowed for infringement of the BTCC's strict rules governing car ride heights.

Rydell was the hardest hit: he set a time good enough to put his Volvo on the pole, failed the pit lane ride- height test, then reclaimed pole with another stunning lap only to miss the TOCA test station on his way back into the pits and incur another penalty; the Swede will therefore start round six of the Auto Trader BTCC from the back of the grid alongside Plato, whose Renault also held the pole for a spell before it failed the height test.

Reigning champion Alain Menu's Laguna failed too, but after adjustments from the Renault pit crew the Swiss ace bounced back to set third-fastest time and will line up on the grid behind Leslie and James Thompson's Honda. Anthony Reid's Nissan was fifth fastest, with Primera- driving Independent Matt Neal claiming seventh to underline the Japanese marque's new-found form. Vauxhall put up a good showing too, John Cleland and Derek Warwick bagging fourth and sixth places respectively.

Rydell fought back in the One-Shot Showdown with a time more than a tenth of a second better than his nearest pursuer, Thompson, could achieve. Cleland showed even better form for Vauxhall to take third on the grid ahead of Plato, Menu, Reid and Leslie. Volvo's Gianni Morbidelli missed his start slot and failed to set a time.

Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship Official qualifying / Donington Park, Leicestershire / 3 May 1998

Qualifying times for Round 5 1 Rickard Rydell SWE Volvo S40 1m 10.170s 100.41mph 2 James Thompson GB Honda Accord 1m 10.299s 3 John Cleland GB Vauxhall Vectra 1m 10.592s 4 Jason Plato GB Renault Laguna 1m 10.709s 5 Alain Menu SWI Renault Laguna 1m 10.736s 6 Anthony Reid GB Nissan Primera 1m 10.827s 7 David Leslie GB Nissan Primera 1m 11.023s 8 Yvan Muller FRA Audi A4 1m 11.065s 9 Derek Warwick GB Vauxhall Vectra 1m 11.068s 10 Matt Neal GB Nissan Primera 1m 11.087s 11 Tommy Rustad NOR Renault Laguna 1m 11.278s 12 Peter Kox NL Honda Accord 1m 11.331s 13 Will Hoy GB Ford Mondeo 1m 11.378s 14 Mark Lemmer GB Vauxhall Vectra 1m 11.429s 15 Tim Harvey GB Peugeot 406 1m 11.733s 16 John Bintcliffe GB Audi A4 1m 11.747s 17 Paul Radisich NZ Peugeot 406 1m 11.803s 18 Roger Moen NOR Honda Accord 1m 12.882s 19 Craig Baird NZ Ford Mondeo 1m 33.689s 20 Gianni Morbidelli ITA Volvo S40 No time (missed slot) 21 Robb Gravett GB Honda Accord Times disallowed (ride height)

Qualifying times for Round 6 1 Leslie 1m 10.424s 100.05mph 2 Thompson 1m 10.551s 3 Menu 1m 10.839s 4 Cleland 1m 10.888s 5 Reid 1m 10.931s 6 Warwick 1m 10.999s 7 Neal 1m 11.024s 8 Muller 1m 11.047s 9 Kox 1m 11.186s 10 Hoy 1m 11.316s 11 Morbidelli 1m 11.355s 12 Rustad 1m 11.360s 13 Bintcliffe 1m 11.361s 14 Harvey 1m 11.584s 15 Gravett 1m 11.805s 16 Lemmer 1m 11.990s 17 Baird 1m 12.041s 18 Moen 1m 12.690s 19 Rydell Times disallowed (ride height) 20 Plato Times disallowed (ride height) 21 Radisich No time (engine)

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Series BTCC
Drivers Anthony Reid , Peter Kox , Yvan Muller , Tim Harvey , David Leslie , James Thompson , Jason Plato , Matt Neal , Craig Baird , Paul Radisich , Mark Lemmer , John Cleland , Rickard Rydell , Gianni Morbidelli , Derek Warwick , Will Hoy , Alain Menu , Tommy Rustad