www.theAA.com MSA British Touring Car Championship 2001
Rounds 19/20 - Oulton Park, Qualifying - August 25
Guernsey driver, Andy Priaulx showed the British Touring Car Championship paddock just what he is made of this afternoon taking double pole on his touring car debut at Cheshire's Oulton Park circuit. Vauxhall Motorsport drivers, Yvan Muller and Jason Plato finished the 30-minute qualifying session with a second and third place each.
27-year-old, Priaulx, who is temporarily replacing regular EggSport Astra Coupe driver, Phil Bennett, who picked up a one-race ban last time out at Croft, topped the time sheets for both Sprint and Feature races. Current championship leader, Muller was just 2/10ths behind in the Sprint times and completed what was a hot qualifying session with third for the Feature Race. Teammate, Jason Plato was happy with his final results and sits on the front row of tomorrow's 28-lap Feature Race alongside Priaulx who is not carrying any weight ballast. Plato joins James Thompson on the second row for the 15-lap Sprint. Thompson, meanwhile, had a frustrating qualifying session which saw him pulled on to the weigh-bridge twice, losing valuable track time. He starts the Feature Race in fifth place.
Yvan Muller, Car 4, Vauxhall Motorsport Astra Coupe
Sprint - 2nd, 1:28.267, Feature - 3rd, 1:28.439 "There was not a lot we could do about Priaulx, the 60kg weight difference is huge but there was a good fight between myself and Jason (Plato). I made a mistake with the tyre pressures on my first two sets of tyres but got it right with the third and that is when I set my best times. Overall, I'm happy with my performance and that of the Astra Coupe."
Jason Plato, Car 5, Vauxhall Motorsport Astra Coupe
Sprint - 3rd, 1:28.341, Feature - 2nd, 1:28.395 "I didn't know if I could get pole this weekend bearing in mind the weight we are carrying compared to Priaulx and the fact that he's got experience. I did see P1 on my pit board at one stage and thought maybe it was possible but he's done a super job. The session seemed to be getting quicker and quicker and I didn't quite get that perfect lap but generally I'm pleased with the way it has gone. Yvan and I have both got a 2nd and 3rd each so it hasn't upset the balance."
Andy Priaulx, Car 18, Egg Sport Vauxhall Astra Coupe
Sprint - Pole, 1:28.047, Feature - Pole, 1:27.968 "I'm so pleased with that - a double pole in my first touring car weekend. Do you know, I couldn't believe at the beginning of the week that I'd be racing in the Vauxhall this weekend, they could have picked any number of guys. I have to say the Astra Coupe is beautiful and I had a good tyre strategy which helped. But, the job is only half done - tomorrow is a different kettle of fish. It'll be my first race in touring cars and I want to bring the car home in one piece and not give the Triple Eight mechanics too much work!"
James Thompson, Car 9, Egg Sport Vauxhall Astra Coupe
Sprint - 4th, 1:28.413, Feature - 5th, 1:28.727 "I was very unfortunate in that qualifying session, I got called in twice to the weigh-bridge which really interrupted my session. The second time was only a few minutes from the end of the session which is when everyone was setting their fastest times. I missed my last run and lost my places. But, everything went to plan otherwise and I'm happy with the set-up on the Astra Coupe for tomorrow's races."
<pre> Oulton Park Qualifying
Sprint 1 Andy Priaulx Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:28.047 2 Yvan Muller Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:28.267 3 Jason Plato Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:28.341 4 James Thompson Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:28.413 5 Steve Soper Peugeot 406 Coupe 1:28.559 6 Dan Eaves Peugeot 406 Coupe 1:29.501
Feature 1 Andy Priaulx Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:27.968 2 Jason Plato Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:28.395 3 Yvan Muller Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:28.439 4 Steve Soper Peugeot 406 Coupe 1:28.659 5 James Thompson Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:28.727 6 Dan Eaves Peugeot 406 Coupe 1:29.262