Fords fly at Brands

Ford stars Rickard Rydell, Alain Menu and Anthony Reid took three of the top four times on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit in the final full-day BTCC test before the season opener on the Kent track's Grand Prix layout on April 9

Fords fly at Brands

The Fords were one-two-three for much of the afternoon and only Honda's Gabriele Tarquini managed to spoil the Blue Oval's perfect scenario when most of the quick men made a last minute bid for glory at the end of the day. Volvo refugee Rydell refused to get too excited about his blistering lap however.

'It's encouraging, but there's a week to go still,' said the 1998 champion. 'We'll see next weekend. Certainly compared to last year's Ford it is a big step forward, but next weekend's when it matters.'

All three manufacturers showed that their cars will be fast this year and times were incredibly close. The top ten was covered by just 0.5s, with everyone from third-placed Gabriele Tarquini to Tom Kristensen in ninth within less than 0.1s.

Independent star Matt Neal was troubled by engine problems in his Team Dynamics Nissan, but still kept up with the works drivers in seventh spot.

Two Class B cars new to the BTCC ran at Brands. Dan Eaves, winner of the National Saloon Championship season opener last weekend had two Peugeot 306s to use and set the fastest Super Production time.

Bowman Team Manager Vic Lee said the works 306 was present to do some work on behalf of Touring Car VIP Club Peugeot driver Alan Morrison. Morrison's works-built car is not yet finished and Morrison himself was suffering from food poisoning.

Fellow NSC regulars Simon Harrison and Phil Andrews shared a Ford Focus. The GR Motorsport pair are currently scheduled to enter three BTCC meetings in the second half of the season, but the team may yet make a full-time switch to the TOCA series.

Times from Brands Hatch:























































































1


Rickard Rydell


Prodrive


Ford Mondeo


46.216s


2


Alain Menu


Prodrive


Ford Mondeo


46.371s


3


Gabriele Tarquini


J.A.S


Honda Accord


46.434s


4


Anthony Reid


Prodrive


Ford Mondeo


46.453s


5


Jason Plato


T8


Vauxhall Vectra


46.502s


6


Yvan Muller


T8


Vauxhall Vectra


46.506s


7


Matt Neal


Dynamics


Nissan Primera


46.516s


8


James Thompson


WSR


Honda Accord


46.517s


9


Tom Kristensen


WSR


Honda Accord


46.524s


10


Vincent Radermecker


T8


Vauxhall Vectra


46.716s


11


Colin Blair


Pro


Nissan Primera


48.099s


12


Simon Graves


WSR


Honda Accord


49.073s


13


Dan Eaves


Bowman


Peugeot 306


50.824s


14


Simon Harrison


GR


Ford Focus


52.142s

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