www.theAA.com MSA British Touring Car Championship 2001
Rounds 21/22 - Silverstone, Qualifying - September 8
Following his one-race ban two weeks ago at Oulton Park, West Midlands' Phil Bennett returned to the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) today with a vengeance, putting his Egg Sport Astra Coupe on double pole for Sunday's races at Silverstone's 2.25-mile circuit. Title contenders, Vauxhall Motorsport's Jason Plato and Yvan Muller shared the remaining top spots.
Oxfordshire's Plato put his Astra Coupe in second place on the Feature Race grid and third for the Sprint, whilst Frenchman, Muller, starts his races from second (Sprint) and third (Feature). James Thompson, who struggled with grip in his Egg Sport Vauxhall Astra Coupe in this afternoon's 30-minute dry session, starts Sunday's 15-lap Sprint Race from fifth place and the 30-lap Feature from fourth.
Yvan Muller, Car 4, Vauxhall Motorsport Astra Coupe Sprint - 2nd, 1:27.898, Feature - 3rd, 1:28.021 "That was not a very good qualifying session but that was because of me not the Astra Coupe. I couldn't get into any sort of rhythm."
Jason Plato, Car 5, Vauxhall Motorsport Astra Coupe Sprint - 3rd, 1:28.156, Feature - 2nd, 1:27.966 "It was looking alright until I simply didn't seem to have the talent anymore for the speed I was going into Copse! It was a shame I chucked it off and ended up in the gravel because I think it could have been P2 for both races. I knew Phil would be strong in qualifying as my car hasn't got the pace to keep up when it's 60kgs heavier than his. But, I'm just going to concentrate on my race tomorrow and focus on the championship fight."
Phil Bennett, Car 27, Egg Sport Vauxhall Astra Coupe Sprint - Pole, 1:27.866, Feature - Pole, 1:27.936 "Pole is great although with a 60kgs advantage on the other Vauxhalls that's where I should be. I was quite lucky with my pole time for the Sprint, it was my last lap and my tyres had already done 6 laps. I just want to win tomorrow and hopefully I've learnt from my experience last time I was on Pole at Croft and make sure I do a better job. Obviously though I don't want to get in either Jason's or Yvan's way as punting them off isn't going to endear me to anyone, but, I've got a job to do."
James Thompson, Car 9, Egg Sport Vauxhall Astra Coupe Sprint - 5th, 1:28.573, Feature - 4th, 1:28.425 "It just wasn't happening out there for me today. It really was hard work. There didn't seem to be the grip that I had earlier today in the practice sessions. It's strange." <pre> Silverstone Qualifying
Sprint 1 Phil Bennett Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:27.866 2 Yvan Muller Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:27.898 3 Jason Plato Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:28.156 4 Steve Soper Peugeot 406 Coupe 1:28.563 5 James Thompson Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:28.573 6 Anthony Reid MG 1:29.152
Feature 1 Phil Bennett Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:27.936 2 Jason Plato Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:27.966 3 Yvan Muller Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:28.021 4 James Thompson Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:28.425 5 Steve Soper Peugeot 406 Coupe 1:28.559 6 Anthony Reid MG 1:28.941