Reid hits Menu's double ambition

Motor racing
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The Independent Online
A collision with Anthony Reid's Nissan ended Alain Menu's chance of recording two more wins in the British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch yesterday. However, the Swiss driver left the Kent track with his championship lead enhanced, thanks to a victory in round seven of the series, his fifth win of the year. He tore away from pole position to win the first of the races in front of a capacity 35,000 crowd, leading each of the 38 laps to head home James Thompson's Honda and the second Williams-Renault of Jason Plato.

Although unable to match the pace of Thompson and his Honda partner, Gabriele Tarquini, in the second event, enabling Honda to score its first one-two finish, Menu looked certain for third place. However, Reid was one of the few drivers on the move, passing Rickard Rydell's Volvo and closing on Menu.

For several laps he sat in the wheel tracks of the championship leader but, eight laps from home, the pair collided at Clearways. "I wasn't looking to pass him. Alain braked harder than I expected and I was unable to avoid him," Reid said.

"He's just totally crazy," Menu countered, having rejoined the track in fifth place and moved into fourth when team-mate Plato let him by at the finish.

The collision allowed Reid's team-mate, David Leslie, to finish third behind the two Hondas, with Thomson recording his first win of the year. "I pushed like mad in the early laps and took a lot of risks. I had to make a break on the pack too, so that I could ease off and look after my tyres to the finish," the Yorkshireman said.

Both Thompson and Tarquini experienced a lack of grip during the final laps of the day's opening race. Tarquini finished that event in sixth, behind the two Nissans of Leslie and Reid. However, down in seventh and eighth, the Volvos of Rydell and Kelvin Burt struggled once again. Rydell was set for fifth place in the eighth round until a tyre punctured, dropping him out of the points while Burt was eighth again.

BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP (Brands Hatch): Round 7 1 A Menu (Renault) 29min 07.076sec (94.24mph); 2 J Thompson (Honda) +4.780; 3 J Plato (Renault) +5.194; 4 D Leslie (Nissan) +5.491; 5 A Reid (Nissan) +5.704; 6 G Tarquini (Honda) +5.935; 7 R Rydell (Volvo) +15.841; 8 K Burt (Volvo) +16.390; 9 F Biela (Audi) +16.802; 10 D Warwick (Vauxhall) +17.827. Round 8: 1 Thompson 29min 03.363sec (94.44mph); 2 Tarquini +5.261; 3 Leslie +8.741; 4 Menu +13.136; 5 Plato +13.537; 6 Biela +16.374; 7 Paul Radisich (Ford) +19.030; 8 Burt +19.929; 9 John Cleland (Vauxhall) +20.370; 10 Tim Harvey (Peugeot) +23.948. Championship standings Drivers: 1 Menu 105; 2 Tarquini 63; 3 Rydell 52; 4 Plato 48; 5 Leslie 40; 6 Thompson 39; 7 Biela 36; Burt 26; Harvey 24; Bintcliffe 23. Manufacturers: 1 Renault 105; 2 Honda 80; 3 Volvo 75; 4 Nissan 60; 5 Audi 54; 6 Vauxhall 39; =7 Peugeot, Ford 38.

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