BTCC: Oulton Park testing March 11

NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP: Oulton Park official testing 11/3/98 THOMPSON & HONDA TOP FIRST BTCC TEST Honda's James Thompson got his 1998 Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship campaign off...

NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP:

Oulton Park official testing 11/3/98

THOMPSON & HONDA TOP FIRST BTCC TEST

Honda's James Thompson got his 1998 Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship campaign off to a flying start at Oulton Park this afternoon (Weds), pipping reigning champion Alain Menu to the honour of fastest time in the first official BTCC test session of the season.

The 23-year-old Briton's Honda Accord lapped the Cheshire circuit just eight-thousandths of a second quicker than Swiss star Menu's Renault Laguna. Heavy rain hampered the teams' progress late in the day, but there's further testing planned for tomorrow (Thurs) and every likelihood that Menu's unofficial lap record of 58.849s may tumble.

John Cleland gave the Vauxhall team strong hopes for the coming season by racking up third-best time in the new Vectra, with John Bintcliffe fourth fastest in the new front-wheel-drive Audi A4.

Menu's Renault team-mate Jason Plato was seventh fastest despite suffering from the 'flu, while the third Laguna, that of independent racer Tommy Rustad, was an impressive ninth quickest on what was the Norwegian's maiden BTCC test appearance.

The first round of the 1998 Auto Trader BTCC takes place at the Thruxton circuit in Hampshire on Easter Monday (Apr 13).

Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship Official testing / Oulton Park, Cheshire / 11 March 1998 1 James Thompson GB Honda Accord 1m 00.211s 2 Alain Menu SWI Renault Laguna 1m 00.219s 3 John Cleland GB Vauxhall Vectra 1m 00.641s 4 John Bintcliffe GB Audi A4 1m 00.864s 5 David Leslie GB Nissan Primera 1m 00.915s 6 Peter Kox NL Honda Accord 1m 00.919s 7 Jason Plato GB Renault Laguna 1m 00.937s 8 Yvan Muller FRA Audi A4 1m 01.092s 9 Tommy Rustad NOR Renault Laguna 1m 01.148s 10 Paul Radisich NZ Peugeot 406 1m 01.153s

-- BTCC official website www.btcc.co.uk

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Series BTCC
Drivers Peter Kox , Yvan Muller , David Leslie , James Thompson , Jason Plato , Paul Radisich , John Cleland , Alain Menu , Tommy Rustad