Motor racing: Menu maintains his pace

Alain Menu, the man at the top of the Auto Trader RAC Touring Car Championship standings, was ahead of the field again following official testing at the North Yorkshire circuit of Croft yesterday.

The 13th and 14th rounds of the series could be the most closely contested so far this season as less than a second separates the top 12 drivers although Menu, in his Renault Laguna, was the only man to record a time less than 1min 21sec.

The Swiss driver is just over a tenth of a second quicker than the Honda of the Italian former Formula One driver, Gabriele Tarquini.

Menu's team-mate, Jason Plato, who was quickest in testing at Croft last week, was back in eighth position. Plato damaged his car in a gravel trap roll-over accident and although unhurt, will race in the spare car for this weekend's races, with official qualifying taking place today.