Motor racing: Menu the master

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The Independent Online
There were first-corner accidents, collisions and incidents but, at the end of the ninth and 10th rounds of the British Touring Car Championship at this Cheshire course, Alain Menu again emerged on top.

The Williams-Renault driver started each of the day's races from pole position, but it was his team-mate Jason Plato who led the field into the first corner of round nine. The reigning champion Frank Biela was hard on his heels until Menu got his act together, forcing his way past the new lightweight Audi and then chased down Plato's car.

Even though an organisational error saw the chequered flag hung out a lap too late, causing consternation lower down the field, Menu held on to win.

His second victory was a lot easier, thanks to a first-corner tangle which led to the elimination of Honda's Garbriele Tarquini. The Italian went side-by-side into the first turn with Menu just as John Bintcliffe, with a sensational start, put his Audi there as well. Three into one did not work and Tarquini spun across the pack, scattering the field in avoidance. Several cars were delayed, including Plato who later fought back to an eventual fourth-place finish.

The incident allowed Menu to make good his escape, scoring his seventh win of the season and extending his championship lead. "It seems to be working out for me this year. Everybody else is crashing, but the title is not taken yet," the Swiss driver said.

In a weekend of car demolition, James Thompson's Honda was pushed off at high speed on the first corner of round nine. The youngster made up for the disappointment by taking second place in round 10, ahead of Rickard Tydell's resurgent Volvo. The Swede made a poor start but fought back well.

Results, Digest, page 25

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