News from the Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship Donington Park, 17/3/98 THOMPSON QUICKEST IN FIRST DONINGTON TESTS Two young British drivers topped the timesheets at Donington Park this afternoon (Tues) in official testing...
News from the Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship Donington Park, 17/3/98
THOMPSON QUICKEST IN FIRST DONINGTON TESTS
Two young British drivers topped the timesheets at Donington Park this afternoon (Tues) in official testing for the Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship. Ahead of the pack was Honda's 23-year-old star James Thompson, with Jason Plato, 29, just five- hundredths of a second slower in his Renault.
Thompson's run of good form - he was at or near the top of the field in both of last week's test sessions at Oulton Park - raises hopes that 1998 could see a Brit on top of the BTCC for the first time since John Cleland in '95. Cleland was himself on good form today, lapping the Leicestershire track three-tenths slower than Thompson to record fifth-best time. Sweden's Rickard Rydell was third fastest for Volvo ahead of the Renault of reigning champion Alain Menu.
There were strong performances also from the independent runners - now enjoying the benefits of tyre equivalency with the works teams. Fastest of them was Matt Neal, 12th overall in his Nissan Primera, with Norwegian Tommy Rustad 14th in his Laguna. There's further testing scheduled for Donington on Thursday (Mar 19).
l This afternoon also saw the first rehearsal of the BTCC's new 'one-shot showdown' qualifying procedure, in which competitors will establish their grid positions for Sprint Races with a single 'hot lap'. Thompson took the honour of fastest time in this session also, recording an even better time (1m 09.831s) than his 'official' best.
Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship Official testing / Donington Park, Leicestershire / 17 March 1998
1 James Thompson GB Honda Accord 1m 10.512s 99.93mph 2 Jason Plato GB Renault Laguna 1m 10.561s 3 Rickard Rydell SWE Volvo S40 1m 10.805s 4 Alain Menu SWI Renault Laguna 1m 10.812s 5 John Cleland GB Vauxhall Vectra 1m 10.854s 6 Peter Kox NL Honda Accord 1m 10.896s 7 Anthony Reid GB Nissan Primera 1m 10.979s 8 Tim Harvey GB Peugeot 406 1m 11.029s 9 Gianni Morbidelli ITA Volvo S40 1m 11.046s 10 Yvan Muller FRA Audi A4 1m 11.075s
-- BTCC official website www.btcc.co.uk