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BTCC Rounds 11&12 @ Donington
Just a quick report of this PM's racing from Donington. As soon as the
BBC's comment came from Donington, my spirits lifted: it was raining! Both
Biela and Bintcliffe wasted no time in capitalizing on the q advantage in
these conditions: they went from a mid-field position (after a rather
mediocre result in qualifying) straight to the front of the pack where they
stayed for the rest of the race. The first laps, the Audi team mates
reigned supreme, with the rest of the pack seconds behind them. Radisich in
the Mondeo had his customary 'off' with accompanying panel damage, complete
with a 10-sec stop-and-go penalty. Tarquini in his Honda also made a slight
error and explored the gravel trap as a result. There was some very close
racing in this round, notably between the team mates in the Vectras, who
exchanged paint at several occasions.
At the end of the race, the track was warming up and drying, and the Audis
(on -now very soft- wet weather tyres) were doing their best to fend off
ace Alain Menu in his Renault, who was close behind Bintcliffe in second
place, and even managed to pass him a few laps before the finish. Thus the
result remained: 1. Biela, 2. Menu, 3. Bintcliffe. It was very exciting to
see the Audis once more in front, and the q advantage shown at its best.
The Audis ran 5-spoke wheels this event BTW, instead of their more usual
multispoke affairs. I wonder what the reason for that was- cooling?
The second race was dominated mostly by Alain Menu again, driving straight
into first position, which he held until the end easily. Bintcliffe
qualified 9th, and Biela 12th, but they managed to quickly get to the front
of the grid like they did in the race before. Even though it wasn't raining
anymore and the track had mostly dried out, the 30 kg weight penalty
reduction has made the Audis competitive once again.
Second place was quickly taken by Tim Harvey in his Peugeot, a nice
challenge for Menu in the near future. An off in a dangerous corner by a
privateer got the safety car out early in the race, and Burt and Rydell(?)
took advantage of this lull in race activities by taking their 10-second
stop-and-go penalty for starting early. The rolling start saw Tarquini's
Honda being hit from behind by Plato's faster-accelerating Renault.
Tarquini managed to recover, but Jason Plato later became Jason Flymo as he
went off himself and 'did a little landscape gardening' as the commentator
said, collecting lots of grass in his suspension and front spoiler. Anthony
Reid's Nissan Primera once again had a scramble with another car (this time
pushing off Burt's Volvo S40), and he'll likely be penalized for this
incident yet again. Of course, Radisich once more retired with a damaged
car. The racing was very close, and Biela and Bintcliffe were doing very
well indeed, holding a comfortable third and fourth respectively. Towards
the end of the race, Biela was threatening to overtake Harvey (and after
the race said he could have done so given another lap). Of course, the race
was already one lap longer at 26 laps, and Audi had done extremely well.
Biela shared sixth place before today, was in fifth after the 11th race and
is now in 4th. Clearly, Audi is coming back strongly. Alain Menu is (even
at this time) almost a sure winner of the series this year, with a 91-point
lead over number two. It seems that Renault's engine preparation, courtesy
of Williams, is being done to a very high standard. End results of race 12:
1. Menu, 2. Harvey, 3. Biela.
Hope you enjoyed this report as much as I did the races...
Just two more weeks and a bit until the Pikes Peak event. I'm looking
forward to that very much and hope to meet a lot of you there!
Tom Nas Zeist, The Netherlands
1988 Audi 80 1.8S, Tizianrot metallic, 210,000km
All my life, I always wanted to be somebody.
Now I see that I should have been more specific.
-- Jane Wagner,
_The Search For Intelligent Life In The Universe_