BTCC: Mondello Park: Vauxhall qualifying report

Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship 2002 Rounds 9/10 Mondello Park, Ireland Qualifying report June 22 Pole each for Muller & Thompson in Ireland Vauxhall Motorsport's Yvan Muller and James Thompson took a pole position apiece in...

Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship 2002
Rounds 9/10
Mondello Park, Ireland
Qualifying report
June 22

Pole each for Muller & Thompson in Ireland

Vauxhall Motorsport's Yvan Muller and James Thompson took a pole position apiece in this afternoon's qualifying sessions for Rounds 9 and 10 of the Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship, which take place tomorrow at Mondello Park in Ireland. And whilst Muller's pole for the 15-lap Sprint race was impressive, it was current championship leader, Thompson, in the 42kg ballast-laddened Astra Coupe who stole the show to line up alongside Muller for the Sprint and on pole for the 25-lap Feature. The Egg Sport Astra Coupe pairing of Paul O'Neill and Matt Neal also had a strong showing and line up 3rd for the Sprint and Feature respectively.

It was a tense start to the two, twenty-minute qualifying sessions however with rain falling briefly just as pitlane opened and within laps, the Astra Coupe drivers were returning to the pits for grooved wet tyres. But, shortly after, the red flag came out and whilst the field waited in pitlane, the rain ceased leaving the track to dry out. So, with slicks back on, a thrilling battle ensued for the top spots between the Astra Coupe drivers and the MGs of Colin Turkington and Gareth Howell. And, just the first session was coming to a close, it was Muller with his weight advantage who posted a pole time of 1m46.701s. 0.937 seconds behind was his teammate, Thompson and Liverpudlian youngster, Paul O'Neill in the Egg Sport Astra Coupe.

The Feature race qualifying session was a different story however with Muller hindered by a cross shaft failure in the transmission of his Astra (championship component failure). The Frenchman could only manage 12th in the times before sitting out the latter half of the session. Thompson meanwhile saw his chance for pole and posted a time of 1m46.738s. Turkington was a close second with Egg Sport's Neal hot on his heels in third.

With three Vauxhall drivers so closely positioned in the championship, we can expect some thrilling racing tomorrow for the championship's second visit to the Emerald Isle.

Vauxhtall Motorsport Quotes:

Yvan Muller, Car 2, Vauxhall Motorsport Astra Coupe
Sprint - Pole, 1m46.701s, Feature - 12th

"For sure I'm pleased with pole for the Sprint but it really should have been a double pole. I'm very disappointed to have lost out on that."

James Thompson, Car 3, Vauxhall Motorsport Astra Coupe
Sprint - 2nd, Feature - Pole, 1m46.738s

"That's a fantastic result! I'm really pleased with pole and second. It means a lot to me because I've consistently been one of the heavier cars for qualifying and the Sprint races because my Feature race results have been good so I don't often get the chance to take pole. As for the races tomorrow, well, if you start at the front, you've got a good chance of staying there."

OTHER VAUXHALL NEWS

Matt Neal, Car 0, Egg Sport Vauxhall Astra Coupe
Sprint - 6th, Feature - 3rd

Paul O'Neill, Car 29, Egg Sport Vauxhall Astra Coupe
Sprint - 3rd, Feature - 6th

Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship Rounds 9/10 - Mondello Park, June 22

Qualifying - Sprint Race
1 Yvan Muller (F) Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1m46.701s
2 James Thompson Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:47.638
3 Paul O'Neill Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:48.437
4 Colin Turkington MG ZS 1:48.668
5 Gareth Howell MG ZS 1:49.248
6 Matt Neal Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:49.701
7 David Leslie Proton Impian 1:49.876
8 Alan Morrison Honda Civic Type R 1:50.137
9 Phil Bennett Proton Impian 1:50.248
10 Tim Harvey Peugeot 406 Coupe 1:50.336

Qualifying - Feature Race
1 James Thompson Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1m46.738s
2 Colin Turkington MG ZS 1:46.958
3 Matt Neal Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:47.091
4 Gareth Howell MG ZS 1:47.250
5 Anthony Reid MG ZS 1:47.521
6 Paul O'Neill Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:47.555
7 Alan Morrison Honda Civic Type R 1:47.887
8 Tom Chilton Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:48.001
9 Phil Bennett Proton Impian 1:48.221
10 Tim Harvey Peugeot 406 Coupe 1:48.272

Weather: Cloudy/Dry

-vaushall-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series BTCC
Drivers Anthony Reid , Yvan Muller , Alan Morrison , Tom Chilton , Paul O'Neill , Tim Harvey , David Leslie , James Thompson , Gareth Howell , Colin Turkington , Matt Neal , Phil Bennett