MOTOR RACING Cleland takes cavalier attitude to series lead

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The Independent Online

John Cleland and Rickard Rydell took first blood in the 1995 British Touring Car Championship, each enjoying untroubled runs to victory in the opening rounds at Donington Park yesterday. The Vauxhall driver Cleland, the 1989 champion, leads the series after his victory in the first round and second place behind the Swedish Volvo driver Rydell in the second event. The second race marked debut wins both for Rydell and Volvo.

Cleland made the first round look easy, making good use of his second position on the grid to take command of the race at the start as the pole man Rydell slipped back. Renault's Alain Menu and Paul Radisich, in a Ford, also outran Rydell on the opening lap.

Cleland's Cavalier made light work of the circuit to quickly establish an unassailable lead. He was nearly six seconds clear of Menu at the chequered flag, with Radisich a comfortable third from Rydell and BMW's Johnny Cecotto.

On the last lap both Will Hoy, in a Renault, and 20- year-old James Thompson, in the second Vauxhall, overhauled Tim Harvey's Volvo for sixth and seventh places respectively.

Rydell made no mistake at the start of the second race, however. He translated his pole position into a healthy opening-lap lead and pulled away from his rivals to finish seven seconds clear at the flag. Cleland, who had started from sixth spot, took six laps before he was able to depose Radisich from third and a further six laps before claiming second from Menu.

BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP (Donington Park): Round one (18 laps, 45 miles): 1 J Cleland (GB) Vauxhall Cavalier 16V 30min 30.49sec (88.50mph); 2 A Menu (Swit) Renault Laguna +5.94sec; 3 P Radisich (NZ) Ford Mondeo Ghia +8.64; 4 R Rydell (Swe) Volvo 850 20V +9.37; 5 J Cecotto (Ven) BMW 318iS +10.14; 6 W Hoy (GB) Renault Laguna +13.38; 7 J Thompson (GB) Vauxhall Cavalier 16V +13.77; 8 T Harvey (GB) Volvo 850 20V +14.14; 9 T Sugden (GB) Toyota Carina E +18.26; 10 G Simoni (It) Alfa Romeo 155 +19.55. Fastest lap: Cleland 1:40.30 (89.73mph). Round two (18 laps, 45 miles) 1 Rydell 30:26.66 (88.68mph); 2 Cleland +7.09; 3 Harvey +9.03; 4 Menu +11.84; 5 Hoy +13.95; 6 Radisich +18.28; 7 Thompson +19.78; 8 Cecotto +22.45; 9 Simoni +24.93; 10 J Kaye (GB) Honda Accord +28.37. Fastest lap: Rydell 1:39.80 (90.18mph). Championship positions: Drivers: 1 Cleland 42pts; 2 Rydell 34; 3 Menu 28; 4 Radisich 18; 5 Harvey 15; 6 Hoy 14. Manufacturers: 1 Vauxhall 42; 2 Volvo 34; 3 Renault 30; 4 Ford 22; 5 BMW 16; 6 Alfa Romeo 10.