Rydell in pole position

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reports from Brands Hatch

Rickard Rydell, the Volvo driver, dominated qualifying here yesterday for rounds three and four of the Auto Trader British Touring Car Championship, to be held today.

The Swede, winner of round two of the series, took almost half a second off the qualifying record for the 1.2-mile track. To emphasise the pace of the Swedish cars, Rydell's TWR team-mate Tim Harvey qualified fourth for the first race and sixth for the second.

"We have been quick here in all the testing we have done and it is vital to be ahead of the rest of the field on this particular track. The racing is always really frantic so I'll stand a good chance of winning if I can break away from the pack," Rydell said.

Splitting the two Volvos are the Vauxhall Cavaliers of the championship leader, John Cleland, and his young team-mate, James Thompson. Cleland starts second for round three but Thompson moved ahead of him to take the place in round four.

The Swiss driver Alain Menu, leading the Williams-Renault team, starts fifth and fourth for the two races tomorrow. In the first race of the day he will be partnered on row three of the grid by the new and impressive Honda Accord of James Kaye, making only its third appearance of the season.

The former grand prix driver Derek Warwick, in an Alfa Romeo, will start both races in midfield, having qualified 15th and 14th respectively.

AUTO TRADER RAC BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP (Brands Hatch, Kent): Qualifying for round three: 1 R Rydell (Swe) Volvo 850 45.89sec (ave speed 94.42mph); 2 J Cleland (GB) Vauxhall Cavalier 46.07; 3 J Thompson (GB) Vauxhall Cavalier 46.10; 4 T Harvey (GB) Volvo 850 46.10; 5 A Menu (Swit) Renault Laguna 46.23; 6 J Kaye (GB) Honda Accord 46.31; 7 P Watts (GB) Peugeot 405 46.31; 8 T Sugden (GB) Toyota Carina 46.38; 9 J Cecotto (Ven) BMW 318i 46.38; 10 P Radisich (NZ) Ford Mondeo 46.41. Qualifying for round four: 1 R Rydell (Swe) Volvo 850 45.95 (ave speed 94.31mph); 2 J Thompson (GB) Vauxhall Cavalier 46.08; 3 J Cleland (GB) Vauxhall Cavalier 46.22; 4 A Menu (Swit) Renault Laguna 46.32; 5 K Burt (GB) Ford Mondeo 46.43; 6 T Harvey (GB) Volvo 850 46.50; 7 T Sugden (GB) Toyota Carina 46.51; 8 J Cecotto (Ven) BMW 318i 46.55; 9 S Harrison (GB) Peugeot 405 46.58; 10 P Watts (GB) Peugeot 405 46.59.