Yorkshire's British Touring Car Championship star, James Thompson gave his home fans at Croft Circuit something to smile about this afternoon, putting his Vauxhall Astra Coupe on pole position for both Rounds 11 and 12 of the Green Flag MSA...
Yorkshire's British Touring Car Championship star, James Thompson gave his home fans at Croft Circuit something to smile about this afternoon, putting his Vauxhall Astra Coupe on pole position for both Rounds 11 and 12 of the Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship. And in a double Vauxhall Motorsport coup, tomorrow's 15-lap Sprint and 25-lap Feature races will see French teammate, Yvan Muller lining up alongside the local hero. With Thompson currently lying just one point behind fellow Astra Coupe driver, Matt Neal, in the Drivers' standings, the 28-year-old from York is perfectly poised to try to reclaim the Championship lead.
It was a close call however in the two, twenty-minute qualifying sessions with first Muller coming into the pits having damaged his front right suspension after tangling with the tyres at the chicane and then Neal coming in with a shattered window after his off. Thompson meanwhile, was hoping that his championship standard gearbox would not cause the same problems that he had suffered with in the earlier practice sessions. Having lost valuable track time in the morning, he had to tackle the qualifying session without a proper set-up on his car. He needn't have worried, and declared afterwards that his Astra had performed brilliantly.
Having got his qualifying session under way after a frenzy of activity by the Vauxhall Motorsport mechanics, Muller finally settled down to battle it out with the on-form Hondas of Priaulx and Morrison. Pipping them to second in both sessions, the Frenchman was pleased with his day's work. Neal meanwhile claimed sixth place for both tomorrow's grid positions whilst his Egg Sport teammate, Paul O'Neill struggled all day to put in a good lap time. Deciding it best to live to fight another day, the Liverpudlian BTCC rookie kept his nose clean and concentrated on bringing his Astra Coupe back in one piece.
Vauxhall Motorsport quotes
Yvan Muller, Car 2, Vauxhall Motorsport Astra Coupe
Sprint - 2nd, Feature - 2nd
"Well, not a bad result considering I hit the tyres at the chicane on the first lap and had to come in to fix the damage I had done to the front right suspension! The guys did a very good job putting it right in the time allowed. But, my qualifying plan had been completely disturbed by then which upset my rhythm for the rest of the session a bit. It should be close racing tomorrow though."
James Thompson, Car 3, Vauxhall Motorsport Astra Coupe
Sprint - Pole, 1m25.511s, Feature - Pole, 1m25.267s
"Very pleased indeed! It has been quite a loopy day to be honest though. I had a gearbox problem in this morning's practice sessions, which meant we had no time to change the set-up on the car but I got out there and the Astra Coupe was just fantastic. It was a good close qualifying session and a great start to the weekend. Although there's still a bit of work to do yet before the races tomorrow and you can never discount the opposition, it's a great boost to start from pole and I'm feeling confident."
OTHER VAUXHALL NEWS
Matt Neal, Car 0, Egg Sport Vauxhall Astra Coupe
Sprint - 6th, Feature - 6th
Paul O'Neill, Car 29, Egg Sport Vauxhall Astra Coupe
Sprint - 14th, Feature - 9th