Motor racing: Leslie claims second win of the season

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The Independent Online
DAVID LESLIE became the first driver this season to win a second Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship race, when he brought his Nissan Primera home first in round six at Donington Park.

Despite that, it is not Leslie or any of the other five drivers to win this year who leads the points standings - but Honda's admirably consistent James Thompson. The series is shaping up to be the most open for years.

The other winner in front of the Bank Holiday crowd was the 1995 champion, John Cleland, who took his first victory since his championship season in the shorter Sprint race (round five), showing that Vauxhall is right back in the fight. He rammed home the point with a strong run to third place in the longer Feature race.

Leslie's win was a comfortable one, the Nissan driver only surrendering the lead in the period when the drivers made their compulsory pit-stops. He was chased early on by Cleland, but a slow pit stop put the Vauxhall driver down to fourth behind the defending champion, Alain Menu, and Honda's James Thompson.

Cleland fought back past Thompson, who held on to fourth, despite a late challenge from Jason Plato in the Renault. Plato's drive from the back of the grid (following a technical infringement in qualifying) was a highlight of the race.

Cleland's Sprint win was founded on a brilliant start from third place on the grid which put him straight into the lead. A group of drivers snapped at his heels, led by Thompson's Honda and Rickard Rydell's Volvo.

Plato was fourth for much of the distance, but when Leslie tried to pass in the closing stages the pair collided and neither finished, Menu eventually taking fourth place in his Renault.