Motor racing: Aiello looks to extend his domination

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The Independent Online
NISSAN'S LAURENT AIELLO gave himself the birthday present he most wanted at Oulton Park yesterday afternoon. Just days after turning 30, Aiello produced the perfect qualifying performance, securing pole position for both today's rounds of the Auto Trader British Touring Car Championship. The Frenchman, winner of four of the last six races, will be looking to extend his lead at the top of the drivers' championship. He may be assisted in his efforts by his Nissan team-mate David Leslie, who will line up with him on the front of the grid for both events.

"Of course it is a big help to start each race from pole," said a delighted Aiello. "I hope we can make a good start, get into the first corner ahead and then control the race from the front. I was not at all sure of what I could do around this circuit in the damp conditions."

Leslie, however, will be aiming for more than just protecting his team- mate's lead. "We work very much as a team," said the Scot, "and we will not take each other off, but I hope I can get into the first bend ahead of Laurent."

Behind the Nissans, Ford excelled in the One Shot Shootout to monopolise the second row of the grid for the Sprint race, Alain Menu edging out Anthony Reid by just two hundredths of a second. "We are not up with the Nissans yet," said Reid, "but we are trying to consolidate the Mondeo as the best of the rest."

That honour for the Feature race has been taken by John Cleland. After notching up his 200th race at Brands Hatch, the Vauxhall veteran showed his appetite for the series is as strong as ever by securing third position on the grid.

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