Motor racing : Bintcliffe holds off Biela to confirm his progress

Click to follow
John Bintcliffe yesterday confirmed the progress he has been making this season when he steered his Audi to victory in the Touring Car Championship at Thruxton.

Swelled with the confidence he gained from his maiden victory at the start of August, the Yorkshireman added a superb second victory to his name, a win which confirmed his progress from single-make racing champion to touring car contender.

Bintcliffe had to work hard for his success in the 19th round of the series, pushed all the way by his team-mate and the reigning champion, Frank Biela. The pair of Quattros stormed away from the line in the damp conditions of the day's opening race, passing the pole-sitting Volvo of Rickard Rydell. Indeed, the Volvo was swamped by Biela and the Hondas of James Thompson and Gabriele Tarquini as well. Rydell, gambling on wet weather tyres on the drying track, eventually suffered a gearbox problem when struggling at the back of the field.

For the rest of the race, Biela poured the pressure on his team-mate as he tried to find a way past. "There were a couple of times when he tapped me up the back, but as long as I was sensible under braking, I could hold him off," Bintcliffe said. "There was nothing I could do, John drove a sensible race," Biela admitted later.

The German had his revenge in the next race, easily holding off the new BTCC champion, Alain Menu, although the Swiss driver's result assured Williams-Renault of the drivers', manufacturers' and team titles. Thompson, meanwhile, secured another third place finish.

Bintcliffe again provided much of the excitement passing Rydell and Jason Plato's Renault after a hectic struggle, which came to a head on lap 16 as Rydell slid wide. Plato was delayed as they touched and Bintcliffe nipped through into fifth place.