Vauxhall's Astra Coupe drivers exchange championship lead.
The British Touring Car Championship took an unexpected twist today at Donington Park when James Thompson cruelly lost his four-point championship lead. The 28-year-old Yorkshireman suffered a blown engine in the second of the two practice sessions and as championship rules dictate, will consequently be docked five points. Vauxhall Motorsport teammate, Yvan Muller now inherits the lead with a one-point advantage, setting up a grand finale to the season not to be missed.
Said Thompson, "I just don't seem to have my fair share of the luck this season, it's so frustrating."
On the circuit meanwhile, the Vauxhall camp used the two practice sessions to prepare and set up the cars for the big showdown on Sunday. Muller posted the sixth fastest time of the sessions with a 1m41.545s whilst third placed championship contender, Matt Neal in the Egg Sport Astra Coupe took the bull between the horns in the closing stages of the second session to post the second fastest time of the day with 1m41.089s. Only the Honda of Andy Priaulx could top him - but only by 0.063 of a second.
The stage is set for the closing rounds of the 2002 Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship this Sunday 22 September.
Combined Free Practice Sessions 1&2 - September 20
1 Andy Priaulx Honda Civic Type R 1m 41.026s
2 Matt Neal Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:41.089
3 Anthony Reid MG ZS 1:41.493
4 Colin Turkington MG ZS 1:41.481
5 Alan Morrison Honda Civic Type R 1:41.493
6 Yvan Muller (F) Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:41.545