Front row start for Vauxhall racing in BTCC at Thruxton.
Thruxton Circuit, Hampshire, 25 May 2003...Thruxton played host to the third round of the Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship today, which saw James Thompson notch up another front row start for Vauxhall Racing.
Following two competitive morning practice sessions, the VX Racing drivers prepared for a tough qualifying period. With track temperatures rising as the sun started to shine, James Thompson, Yvan Muller and Paul O'Neill, had to work hard to make it into the top five.
Thompson posted the second fastest time of the session with a 1min 18.393s lap to line up alongside Matt Neal on the front row of the grid for the first of tomorrow's two races. Yvan Muller was fourth fastest at 1min 18.455s, with Paul O'Neill close on his heels in fifth place and a time of 1min 19.010s.
"We knew we had to pull something out of the bag this afternoon, so I'm happy to be on the front row. We're carrying 57 kilos more than Matt (Neal), so it was always going to be a tough task for us. The morning sessions weren't easy for us and we've been suffering understeer all day, so overall it's a good outcome."
"I had much more understeer in qualifying than in practice this morning, which is probably because of the warmer weather we had this afternoon, so I'm a little disappointed. But, it's tomorrow that really counts and we'll see what we can do then."
"I'm pleased with my fifth place, although it could have been better. I overtook two production cars as I went into Church, so I had to brake rather than just lift there and I had to overtake another one towards the end of the lap, so these hurt my time a little. The car was a bit nervous to begin with, but then came good for my timed lap. I'm happy where I'm at for tomorrow."
"I think 2nd, 4th and 5th is better than we expected here, with the ballast we're carrying. We've got three good racers and I know they will be putting all their efforts into bringing home the results tomorrow. It's forecast to be good weather, which might mean changing our setups, but we'll wait for tomorrow before we decide our course of action."