Rydell's big chance

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The Independent Online
Touring Cars

Rickard Rydell boosted his chances of closing the gap on the championship leader, John Cleland, by claiming pole position in his Volvo for rounds 20 and 21 of the Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship at Snetterton today.

It is the 13th time this season that the Swede, who trails Cleland by 40 points, has claimed pole in 21 qualifying sessions.

With just six rounds left in the championship, and 24 points awarded to the winner of each race, Rydell cannot afford any mistakes, particularly as arch-rival Alain Menu lines up alongside him at the front of the grid for both 20-lap races.

Menu desperately needs two good results to maintain his challenge. He is third in the table, 68 points adrift of Cleland who starts from third and sixth places on the grid.

Matthew Neal provided the biggest shock by qualifying his privately entered Ford Mondeo in fifth place for round 21 ahead of the factory-backed cars of Paul Radisich and Kelvin Burt.

BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP (Snetterton): Leading grid positions: Round 20: 1 R Rydell (Swe) Volvo 850 1min 12.369sec (ave speed 97.10mph); 2 A Menu (Swi) Renault Laguna 1:12.386; 3 J Cleland (GB) Vauxhall Cavalier 1:12.507; 4 T Harvey (GB) Volvo 850 1:12.559; 5 J Bailey (GB) Toyota Carina 1:12.799; 6 J Kaye (GB) Honda Accord 1:12.800; 7 P Radisich (NZ) Ford Mondeo 1:12.827. Round 21: 1 Rydell 1:12.137 (97.41mph); 2 Menu 1:12.603; 3 Harvey 1:12.686; 4 W Hoy (GB) Renault Laguna 1:12.695; 5 M Neal (GB) Ford Mondeo 1:12.736; 6 Cleland 1:12.821; 7 T Sugden (GB) Toyota Carina 1:12.857.