NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP, 24/5/97 THE Volvo team raced back to the front of the pack at Oulton Park this afternoon (Saty) in final official testing for Bank Holiday Monday's twin Auto Trader RAC Touring...

NEWS FROM THE AUTO TRADER RAC TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP, 24/5/97

THE Volvo team raced back to the front of the pack at Oulton Park this afternoon (Saty) in final official testing for Bank Holiday Monday's twin Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship races.

After a couple of meetings spent struggling with the set-up of the new Volvo S40, it all came right today for super Swede Rickard Rydell, who sliced three-tenths of a second from Alain Menu's best time of yesterday to record the fastest ever touring car lap of the Cheshire circuit.

Said Rydell: "It's great to be back in front. We seemed to lose ourselves a bit in the last three or four races but we have now gone back to our settings from the beginning of the season and they seem to work well." However, both Rydell and his team-mate Kelvin Burt suffered major engine blow-ups today.

Another driver in the wars was Patrick Watts, who comprehensively destroyed his new Peugeot 406 when he crashed at Druids corner. Watts was shaken but unhurt and will be able to contest Monday's races in a spare chassis.

Championship leader Menu and his Renault Laguna ran Rydell closest today, with Jason Plato third fastest.

Official qualifying for rounds nine and 10 of the Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship takes place tomorrow (Sun), with a bumper crowd expected at Oulton on Monday for the twin races.

Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship Official testing, Oulton Park, 24/5/97 1 Rickard Rydell (Swe), Volvo S40, 58.616s, 101.58mph; 2 Alain Menu (Switz), Renault Laguna, 58.689s; 3 Jason Plato (GB), Renault Laguna, 58.789s; 4 James Thompson (GB), Honda Accord, 58.958s; 5 Anthony Reid (GB), Nissan Primera, 59.156s;

--------- www.btcc.co.uk

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Series General
Drivers Anthony Reid , James Thompson , Jason Plato , Kelvin Burt , Rickard Rydell , Alain Menu , Patrick Watts