BTCC: VX Racing Snetterton qualifying report

Snetterton Circuit, Norfolk, 9 August 2003/...James Thompson deftly secured pole position in qualifying, with Paul O'Neill maintaining the fast pace he demonstrated in Friday's practice session. Yvan Muller took seventh place on the grid after...

Snetterton Circuit, Norfolk, 9 August 2003/...James Thompson deftly secured pole position in qualifying, with Paul O'Neill maintaining the fast pace he demonstrated in Friday's practice session. Yvan Muller took seventh place on the grid after his engine trouble the previous day, to leave the audience hoping for a similar performance from the Frenchman to that seen at Croft when he beat his way from the back of the grid to a podium position.

An uneventful qualifying session saw all three of the VX Racing Vauxhall Astra coupes out at the start, and after warming up, all three drivers put in visible attempts at gaining fast laps. Paul O'Neill took a provisional pole position on his sixth lap, although this was later lost to Honda and MG. However, 15 minutes into the 20 minutes session, Thompson came storming through to set the fastest time of 1 min 12.297 and, despite some further fast times from competitors, held his position despite the success ballast he was carrying from his two podium positions gained in the previous rounds at Croft.

Paul O' Neill concluded his qualifying session in fifth place with a time of 1 min. 12.746, with Yvan Muller taking seventh place on the grid with his top time of 1 min.12.871.

James Thompson

"That was a good qualifying session for me: I was held up a bit by traffic on my first 'fast lap' but on my second attempt I went clear, although I still think I could have gone faster. It's quite a busy grid out there today, but I'm pleased with that performance bearing in mind the ballast I'm carrying too. The team have ensured that the Astra Coupe is a good car all round, so whereas other teams have got cars particularly fast on the straight, the Astra's just an all round performer. And although Yvan is some way behind me, we all know what he can do in a race, and it's the race that counts."

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