Motor racing: Double triumph pulls Aiello clear

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LAURENT AIELLO and Nissan dominated rounds nine and 10 of the British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park yesterday, on a day overshadowed by the death of the Irish driver Neil Shanahan in a Formula Ford race on the supporting bill, writes Nick Phillips.

Aiello scored maximum points with two pole positions and two wins. Neither of the Frenchman's closest rivals in the championship points table - Renault's Jason Plato and Honda's James Thompson - picked up a single point over the weekend. Independent Nissan driver Matt Neal is now second, 48 points adrift of Aiello's score of 112.

In a drama-free Sprint race, Aiello and his team-mate David Leslie motored away from the rest of the field to finish first and second. Alain Menu and Anthony Reid were third and fourth in the ever-improving Ford Mondeos, though Menu had to cope with only the first five of his six gears in the later stages.

Aiello looked set for a repeat result in the Feature race. The pair led away again, their task made simpler by a first-corner crash which eliminated Menu and John Cleland (Vauxhall) as well as Thompson. But it all went wrong for Leslie at his mandatory pit-stop when the Nissan team's air- jack system failed. Aiello continued to a very easy win, with Leslie finishing eighth out of nine.

Neal took an excellent second place, thanking his Team Dynamics squad whose slick pit work moved the Nissan ahead of Yvan Muller's Vauxhall. Muller finished third while Reid in the Ford slipped back to fifth.