BTCC: Oulton Park: Vauxhall Motorsport qalifying report

Rounds 3/4 - Oulton Park, Qualifying report - April 20 VAuxhall Astra Coupes lead the way again. Once again, Vauxhall's Astra Coupes have laid down the gauntlet in the Green Flag British Touring Car Championship with Matt Neal in the Egg ...

Rounds 3/4 - Oulton Park, Qualifying report - April 20

VAuxhall Astra Coupes lead the way again.

Once again, Vauxhall's Astra Coupes have laid down the gauntlet in the Green Flag British Touring Car Championship with Matt Neal in the Egg Sport Vauxhall Astra Coupe taking a breathtaking double pole for both of tomorrow's Sprint and Feature Races at Cheshire's Oulton Park circuit. Hot on his heels was the ballast-laddened Vauxhall Motorsport pairing of Yorkshireman, James Thompson and Frenchman, Yvan Muller. Thompson lines up alongside Neal for the 15-lap Sprint whilst Muller takes second place on the grid for the 25-lap Feature.

The day's two, twenty-minute sessions produced plenty of nail biting action with pole constantly changing hands but it was Birmingham's Matt Neal who set a stunning 1m27.316 in the first Sprint session. James Thompson, carrying 33kgs more than Neal, tried his utmost to pip him to pole, but just missed out by a mere 0.001s to take second. Muller, meanwhile, fell foul of a Toca component failure to sit out much of his first session and was fortunate to hold the third place time that he had set early on in the session. The rest of the field will have their work cut out in tomorrow's Sprint Race with a Vauxhall 1-2-3 heading up the grid.

It was all change though for the red flag interrupted Feature qualifying session with Thompson losing out to the same Toca component failure as Muller. With Thompson sidelined, the rest of the field briefly took their chance to top Neal with challenges from the MG of Warren Hughes and Egg Sport Astra Coupe driver, Paul O'Neill. But, experience played out and Muller, complete with replacement part, stormed to second place on the grid with just three minutes to go alongside the on-form Neal who had set an even quicker pole time of 1m27.074. Whilst Hughes lined up third, O'Neill took an impressive fourth. Thompson hung on to fifth making it yet another Vauxhall whitewash with four Astra Coupes in the top five for Round 4 of the championship tomorrow afternoon.

Vauxhall Motorsport Quotes:

Yvan Muller, Car 2, Vauxhall Motorsport Astra Coupe
Sprint - 3rd, 1:27.884, Feature - 2nd, 1:27.239
"I'm actually quite happy with my results today. To be carrying 30kgs in ballast and have a problem with the differential and still be third and second on the Sprint and Feature Race grids isn't bad. I think I could have been quicker in the first session if all had gone well but in the end, you have to be happy with that result."

James Thompson, Car 3, Vauxhall Motorsport Astra Coupe
Sprint - 2nd, 1:27.317, Feature - 5th, 1:27.562
"That was really frustrating! I've got the quickest car and not too much to show for it so far. I'm pleased obviously with second for the Sprint Race grid but even that was frustrating. There was so much traffic - people weaving and warming tyres. And it wasn't the production cars, it was some of the less experienced touring class drivers. As for the second session for the Feature Race, it's a testament to the Astra Coupe's pace that I was able to hold fifth despite sitting out much of the session."

OTHER VAUXHALL NEWS
The Egg Sport Astra Coupe team had another successful day with Birmingham's Matt Neal posting a stunning double pole in his Triple Eight Race Engineering-run Vauxhall Astra Coupe. He goes into Rounds 3 and 4 now with two points up his sleeve giving the Birmingham driver the edge on Yvan Muller who was previously joint leader in the drivers' standings. His Liverpudlian teammate, Paul O'Neill, also had a productive day with the newcomer lining up fourth for the Feature Race grid.

Matt Neal, Car 0, Egg Sport Vauxhall Astra Coupe
Sprint - Pole, 1:27.316, Feature - Pole, 1:27.074

Paul O'Neill, Car 29, Egg Sport Vauxhall Astra Coupe
Sprint - 8th, 1:28.341, Feature - 4th, 1:27.417

Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship Rounds 3/4 - Oulton Park, April 20

Qualifying - Sprint Race
1 Matt Neal Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1m27.316s
2 James Thompson Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:27.317
3 Yvan Muller (F) Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1.27.884
4 Anthony Reid MG ZS 1:28.048
5 Warren Hughes MGZS 1:28.118
6 Tim Harvey Peugeot 406 Coupe 1:28.136

Qualifying - Feature Race
1 Matt Neal Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1m27.074s
2 Yvan Muller (F) Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:27.239
3 Warren Hughes MG ZS 1:27.345
4 Paul O'Neill Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:27.417
5 James Thompson Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:27.562
6 Anthony Reid MG ZS 1:27.734

Weather: Dry/Cloudy

-vm-

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Series BTCC
Drivers Anthony Reid , Yvan Muller , Paul O'Neill , Tim Harvey , James Thompson , Warren Hughes , Matt Neal