Cleland clear after brush with Rydell

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John Cleland sped his way to a 40-point lead in the British Touring Car Championship yesterday courtesy of a controversial victory at Brand's Hatch. Halfway through round 19 of the series, Cleland and his fellow championship contender, Rickard Rydell, appeared to touch, the Scotsman surging into the lead as the Swede's Volvo spun. Rydell slipped to third place as Will Hoy, who won the opening race of the day in his Renault, followed Cleland's Cavalier through into second place.

The drivers had differing views of the incident, Rydell claiming he was hit by Cleland, while the Scot insisted there was no contact and Rydell simply lost control.

Rydell's plan to reduce Cleland's Championship lead had started well earlier in the day. He passed the Scotsman on the opening lap of the first race, but Hoy made a stunning start from third on the grid to take the lead.

Despite intense pressure, Hoy held on to win his first race for three years. Rydell and Cleland completed the top three.