Thompson Confident of Home Victory With VX Racing this Weekend
24 July 2004.../The BTCC six week break gave VX Racing time away from the track, but it was business as usual today at Croft Race circuit, North Yorkshire, for the Vauxhall touring car team and drivers Yvan Muller, James Thompson and Luke Hines. Afternoon qualifying saw Muller and Thompson post third and fourth fastest times respectively, to line up side-by-side on the second row of the grid for round sixteen of the MSA Green Flag BTCC Championship. 21-year old Hines lines up in eleventh place.
A leaner Muller returned to BTCC racing after the break eight kilos lighter and with his Vauxhall Astra Coupe light on ballast, the pairing proved to be right on the pace in morning practice. But the morning's results were not able to be repeated in qualifying. As Muller reflected after the qualifying session, "I was expecting a bit more, but one or two places don't matter. We changed the diff after practice and that was probably a mistake, as the car didn't handle as well as it did this morning."
Yorkshireman Thompson, driving at his home circuit in his last BTCC race weekend as a bachelor -- with wedding nuptials just a week away -- was satisfied with fourth fastest. "We have three lighter cars ahead of us which makes a difference," said Thompson. "So it's probably where we expect to be. We worked on race balance for most of the practice sessions, so we'll be okay. I'll be going for the win tomorrow."
Young gun Hines wasn't satisfied with his sixth row grid slot and felt he hadn't got the best from his Vauxhall Astra Coupe. Hines explained saying, "I'm carrying 30kg weight ballast and I'm not used to it, so I'm struggling with the handling of the car and the tyres. And on my last run, the car jumped out of gear, which lost me some time. And with everyone so close, one small mistake and you're knocked down the timesheet."
Anthony Reid, driving an MG ZS for WSR will start on pole for the first race with Matt Neal, in a Computeach Racing Honda Civic in second place. Rounds sixteen, seventeen and eighteen of the MSA Green Flag British Touring Car Championship take place at Croft race circuit tomorrow. The racing is shown live on Motors TV with highlights next weekend on ITV.