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BTCC Knockhill results...

Knockhill, 28/07/96   

FRANK BIELA edged closer to the Auto Trader RAC Touring Car 
Championship drivers' title with a  
win and a second place for Audi at a spectator-packed Knockhill this 
afternoon (Sun), with Volvo's  
Rickard Rydell winning his second BTCC race of the season to re-
establish his claim to the overall  
runner-up spot. 

Biela's victory -- his sixth of the season -- came in round 17 of the 
country's premier motor racing  
series, on the tight and twisty Fife circuit which was always going to 
favour the four-wheel drive  
system of his Audi A4. 

With eight rounds remaining, German ace Biela enjoys a 58-point 
advantage over Rydell in the fight  
for the drivers' championship. Rydell said after his round 18 win: 'To 
win the championship now I  
need Frank not to finish the next three of four races, as well as a lot 
of luck. I shall try my best to win  
the next races [at Oulton Park] and then we'll see...' 

Round 17 of the championship saw Rydell assume command from 
pole position, pursued by Biela, the  
BMWs of Roberto Ravaglia and Jo Winkelhock, and John Bintcliffe 
in the second Audi. Bintcliffe  
made the earliest move of the race, displacing Winkelhock from 
fourth at the end of the first lap.  

The top five circulated bumper-to-bumper until half-distance, when 
Rydell -- apparently beginning to  
suffer tyre deterioration -- slipped into Biela's clutches at the
and the Audi took the lead. The  
following lap, Bintcliffe followed his team leader's example and 
passed Ravaglia for third. After a  
further 10 laps on Rydell's tail, Bintcliffe moved past to make it an 
Audi 1-2.  

The Volvo team's woes were compounded two laps from the end 
when Kelvin Burt was forced into  
retirement with accident damage; the same lap, Rydell lost third 
place to Ravaglia. At the flag, Biela  
was two-and-a-half seconds clear of Bintcliffe, with Ravaglia, Rydell 
and Winkelhock in close  
attendance. Silverstone winner David Leslie (Honda) was sixth and 
top Scot on home turf.  

The championship's other Scottish frontrunner, reigning champion 
John Cleland, was a disappointed  
non-finisher, spinning out on lap four after his Vauxhall collected a 

Round 18 saw Rydell again hold the advantage from pole position -- 
but this time he held off Biela's  
advances all the way to the chequered flag. The two were never 
separated by more than a bumper's  
width throughout the 35-lap event, and finished just 0.35s apart. Said 
Rydell, who only just made it  
on to the grid after lengthy revisions were required to his Volvo: 'We 
made it into the race with only  
five minutes to spare. And I don't think I have ever driven such a 
close race.' Biela added: 'Rickard  
drove a very good race, with no mistakes. I couldn't have passed him 
without having an accident.' 

Ravaglia finished third for BMW, ahead of Bintcliffe and 
Winkelhock. Cleland reversed his fortunes  
of the earlier race to displace Leslie from sixth four laps from home. 

The weekend's events were a disaster for the Renault team and Alain 
Menu, who previously had held  
second spot in the championship. A succession of engine problems 
blighted his testing and qualifying  
runs, and his Laguna expired from round 18 at mid-distance with 
another powerplant failure -- the  
team's sixth in Scotland. 

The Total Cup for Privateers battle was won by Richard Kaye in 
round 17; Kaye led again in round 18  
until spinning almost within sight of the flag and handing honours to 
Matt Neal, the reigning Total  
Cup Champion claiming his first victory of the year. 

Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship, round 17  
35 laps -- 45.5 miles / 73.15km  
1  Frank Biela (Ger), Audi A4, 31m 52.62s, 85.64mph/137.82kmh;  
2  John Bintcliffe (GB), Audi A4, +2.46s;  
3  Roberto Ravaglia (It), BMW 320i, +5.76s;  
4  Rickard Rydell (Swe), Volvo 850, +6.58s;  
5  Jo Winkelhock (Ger), BMW 320i, +8.06s;  
6  David Leslie (GB), Honda Accord, +13.99s;  
7  Paul Radisich (NZ), Ford Mondeo, +34.53s;  
8  James Kaye (GB), Honda Accord, +40.87s;  
9  Alain Menu (Switz), Renault Laguna, +43.57s;  
10 Will Hoy (GB), Renault Laguna, +44.40s.  
Total Cup Privateers: Richard Kaye (GB), Vauxhall Cavalier.  
Fastest lap: Biela, 53.51s, 87.46mph/140.75kmh (record).  

Round 18  
35 laps -- 45.5 miles / 73.15km  
1  Rydell, 31m 44.90s, 85.95mph/138.38kmh;  
2  Biela, +0.35s;  
3  Ravaglia, +1.00s;  
4  Bintcliffe, +1.42s;  
5  Winkelhock, +22.87s;  
6  John Cleland (GB), Vauxhall Vectra, +25.72s;  
7  Leslie, +29.72s;  
8  James Kaye, +30.68s;  
9  Radisich, +32.08s;  
10 Kelvin Burt (GB), Volvo 850, +32.60s.  
Total Cup Privateers: Matt Neal (GB), Ford Mondeo.  
Fastest lap: Bintcliffe, 53.52s, 87.44mph/140.72kmh.  

Drivers: 1 Biela, 198 points; 2 Rydell, 140; =3 Menu & Winkelhock, 
118; 5 Ravaglia, 117; 6  
Bintcliffe, 100.  
Manufacturers: 1 Audi, 208; 2 BMW, 193; 3 Volvo, 175; 4 Renault, 
163; 5 Vauxhall, 126; 6 Honda,  
114; 7 Ford, 59; 8 Peugeot, 54.  
Total Cup Privateers: 1 Lee Brookes (GB/Toyota), 214; 2 Richard 
Kaye, 200.  

Official BTCC website:
Best in British Motor Sport