<pre> www.theAA.com British Touring Car Championship Rounds 9 and 10 Mondello Park, Ireland Sunday 17th June 2001 </pre>
After a thrilling start to race day at Mondello Park for rounds 9 and 10 of the BTCC, the Peugeot 406 Coupé Race Team finished the SPRINT race in 3rd and 7th position. Soper stuck by his words as Peugeot showed their true potential bringing home the teams first trophy of the season.
"I always said we would be on the Podium mid-season", commented Soper after his tremendous victory for the Peugeot 406 Coupé race team.
Round 9 of the BTCC witnessed a turnaround of fortunes for Vauxhall as Peugeot's Soper and Eaves diced for the lead. After close racing from Steve and Dan with the Egg Sport Vauxhall of Phil Bennett, Steve took 3rd from Bennett who suffered a miss-fire and a slow puncture.
Moen in the ex works Peugeot 306 proved he had what it takes today as he took the second 3rd position for Peugeot in the BTCC Production class.
Peugeot 406 Coupé works driver, Dan Eaves commented, "I am still suffering from. wheel-spin and under-steer. The first two laps were fine but then the traction seemed to deteriorate, which was frustrating as it allowed Luby in the Lexus to over take me."
Peugeot Motorsport Director, Mick Linford commented, "It was great to get on the podium slightly earlier in the season than we had predicted. I feel it's a well deserved boost for the team, and one we intend to repeat in the very near future, though we still have a lot of work to do to be consistently competitive."
<pre> Race Results after BTC Touring SPRINT race:
POS NO DRIVER NAT CAR TIME LAPS 1 4 Yvan Muller FRA Vauxhall 28:33.193 15 2 9 James Thompson GBR Vauxhall 28:42.571 15 3 44 Steve Soper GBR Peugeot 28:48.750 15 4 41 Kurt Luby GBR Lexus 29:05.713 15 5 22 Dan Eaves GBR Peugeot 29:12.576 15
An eventful FEATURE race witnessed Soper and Eaves battle with the Vauxhalls, until the earlier successful Soper was forced to retire on lap 13 with damaged front suspension. Eaves also suffered problems in the afternoon's race when he lost significant power after Vauxhalls Bennett rammed the 406 Coupé damaging the exhaust, subsequently having to retire on lap 25.
VLR Team Manager, Vic Lee commented, "It's disappointing when we got 3rd in the Sprint race and had to retire in the Feature race. We did well early on but we had component failure in both cars in the Feature race. One minute we are pleased with a 3rd and the next minute we fall flat but if it was easy everyone would be doing it."
The ex works Peugeot 306's of Moen and multiple production class winner Harrison fought for the lead throughout the race, where Harrison finally finished 4th and Moen 7th.
<pre> Race Results after BTC Touring FEATURE race:
POS NO DRIVER NAT CAR TIME LAPS 1 4 Yvan Muller FRA Vauxhall 54:50.315 30 2 5 Jason Plato GBR Vauxhall 54:57.078 30 3 9 James Thompson GBR Vauxhall 55:06.406 30 4 27 Phil Bennett GBR Vauxhall 55:10.106 30
Not classified: Dan Eaves, Steve Soper, Kurt Luby </pre>
The team will now travel back to England where they will start to prepare for the official TOCA test at Snetterton, Norfolk on Monday 25th June. The Peugeot 406 Coupé Race Team will contest rounds 11th and 12th of the BTCC at Donington Park, June 30-July 1st.