Cleland run ends on home ground

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The Independent Online
GWYN DOLPHIN

reports from Knockhill

John Cleland's run of four consecutive British Touring Car Championship race wins was broken on the Scotsman's home ground yesterday. In front of a 25,000 crowd, Rickard Rydell (Volvo) and Alain Menu (Renault) took one win each. However Cleland, whose Vauxhall lacked its usual competitiveness, was able to maintain his championship lead.

As Rydell made a poor start to the first race from his pole position, Menu surged ahead and seemed set for victory until gearbox problems intervened.

His misfortune allowed Rydell into a lead he was never to lose and the Swede eventually crossed the line seven seconds ahead of his team-mate, Tim Harvey.

The Ford driver, Kelvin Burt, was third just ahead of Johnny Cecotto, whose BMW was running to a new lower weight limit for the first time. However, Cecotto came under intense pressure from the reigning BTCC champion, Gabriele Tarquini. The Italian brought his Alfa Romeo through from14th on the grid to fifth place until he lost a wheel.Tarquini's team-mate, Derek Warwick, was pushed off on the very first lap of the race.

The start of the second race was a carbon copy of the first with Menu pulling clear of Rydell. This time his Renault performed faultlessly to enable the Swiss driver to win his fourth race this season.

Behind the leaders, Paul Radisich, seemed set for third position until his Ford collected a puncture three laps from the end.

Harvey moved into third position at the finish with David Brabham getting the better of a frantic five-car battle for fourth place. Cleland, the championship leader, took sixth position as he crossed the line almost level with James Kaye's Honda.

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