www.theAA.com MSA British Touring Car Championship
Snetterton test - Monday, June 25
Muller Fastest In Snetterton Test
Vauxhall Motorsport's Yvan Muller topped the timesheets at the Snetterton circuit in Norfolk on Monday, when he set fastest time of the day in the Vauxhall Astra Coupé during the official British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) test session - the only chance teams have of testing before August's exciting night race.
"It was a very productive day for me," said Muller, who currently leads the BTCC going into next weekend's race at the Donington Park circuit near Derby. "This Snetterton test has given us the chance to try lots of different set-ups and for me the hard work has paid off. My best time was towards the end of this afternoon's session and it has confirmed the Astra Coupé's balance is good as a result of the changes the team has made."
Muller spent much of the dry sunny day of testing, trailing the times set by his team-mate, Jason Plato, the Oxford driver too was buoyed by the day's testing.
"I came to Snetterton not to be competitive with times, but to work on the car and as a result I've learned an awful which I'm pleased about," said Plato. "I have tried set-ups today that I would never have dreamt of trying in the shortish free practice sessions we get at race meetings. Overall I'm very pleased with the way my day has gone."
Plato finished the day third on the timesheets when James Thompson driving the Egg Sport Vauxhall Astra Coupé just nipped in front during the closing minutes of the day-long test session. Phil Bennett in the other Egg Sport Astra Coupé finished the day fourth.
"We have achieved about two thirds of what we had planned," said Ian Harrison, Technical Director of Triple Eight Race Engineering who run the Astra Coupés in this year's BTCC. "This is our last test session for the year and we didn't get everything covered. There are no points for being fastest in testing, but at least we've sorted the gear ratios for the night race and found some new changes which have worked with the Astra Coupés - whether they work at other circuits we will just have to wait and see."
The four Astra Coupés next appear at this coming weekend's race at Donington Park near Derby, where, still with their extra 30kgs of ballast over and above the 60kgs of normal success weighting, the team expects braking efficiency to suffer.
"Donington is very much a brake dependent circuit," said Plato. "The best Astra Coupé will be driven by whoever looks after their brakes the best." <pre> Snetterton test - Monday, June 25 1 Yvan Muller Vauxhall Astra Coupé 1:12.953 2 James Thompson Vauxhall Astra Coupé 1:13.336 3 Jason Plato Vauxhall Astra Coupé 1:13.436 4 Phil Bennett Vauxhall Astra Coupé 1:13.965 5 Dan Eaves Peugeot 406 Coupé 1:14.330 6 Steve Soper Peugeot 406 Coupé 1:14.838 7 Kurt Luby Lexus IS200 1:15.204