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Touring cars: Aiello's double puts him into joint lead

LAURENT AIELLO won a pair of dramatic British Touring Car Championship races in front of a huge Bank Holiday crowd at Thruxton to move himself into the joint championship lead and half-way to a pounds 250,000 bonus.

The French Nissan driver had the fastest car, but had to fight for both wins with his team-mate David Leslie and the reigning champion, Rickard Rydell.

Rydell came away from Hampshire with two second places for Volvo, while Leslie left with nothing after suffering a high-speed puncture in the sprint race and a crunching conclusion in the feature race, thanks to a tangle with Rydell and a related, much larger, accident with Ford's Anthony Reid.

Reid was not happy with Leslie, who took him out of a promising fourth place. "It was the most blatantly dangerous driving I've ever seen," he said. "He [Leslie] should be banned." Leslie, by contrast, felt that Reid "simply drove into me."

Rydell had led both races away from pole, but could not match the Nissan's race pace.

In the hectic feature race Vincent Radermecker took third and his confusion reflected the level of drama: "I had a really big fight with many other drivers, I can't remember how many," said the Belgian.

Aiello is now tied for the lead with Honda's James Thompson, who took fifth and then eighth after a blow-out, and if Aiello wins the next two races he gets that quarter million bonus. Renault's Jason Plato is two points behind in third place.