Thompson spearheads Vauxhall's Scottish assault. British Touring Car Championship leader, James Thompson continued his championship charge this afternoon qualifying in second and fourth grid positions for tomorrow's Rounds 15&16 at Scotland's ...
Thompson spearheads Vauxhall's Scottish assault.
British Touring Car Championship leader, James Thompson continued his championship charge this afternoon qualifying in second and fourth grid positions for tomorrow's Rounds 15&16 at Scotland's Knockhill Circuit. Egg Sport Astra Coupe driver, Matt Neal was the second fastest Vauxhall man out there and he will line up in third and sixth places respectively for the 25-lap Sprint and 40-lap Feature races.
However, it was mission accomplished for Vauxhall Motorsport's Thompson. The gritty 28-year-old Yorkshireman had been determined to gain as high a grid position as possible this weekend despite his 30kgs success ballast as the 1.3-mile highland circuit is notoriously difficult to overtake on. And he only just missed out on pole for the Sprint race with 0.157 of a second separating him from double pole man, Andy Priaulx. In fact, there was less than a second between the top fifteen Touring Class drivers, signalling that the BTCC is growing ever more competitive.
Egg Sport's Neal however, was disappointed not to have made more of his weight advantage in the two red-flag interrupted qualifying sessions but is confident of a good result tomorrow. Fellow Egg Sport driver, Paul O'Neill lines up in fifth place for the two races and will be out to impress in this, his debut BTCC season. Vauxhall Motorsport's Yvan Muller meanwhile suffered a frustrating afternoon. The Frenchman struggled with a combination of unsatisfactory set-ups and a maximum 42kgs of success ballast. Currently lying second in the drivers' championship standings with just three race weekends remaining, Muller will no doubt be pulling out all the stops however for Sunday's two races.
Vauxhall Motorsport Quotes:
Yvan Muller, Car 2, Vauxhall Motorsport Astra Coupe
Sprint - 8th, Feature - 9th
"That wasn't good. We changed the set-up on my Astra several times between the practice sessions and qualifying but just couldn't find a good balance. I think I was probably quicker this morning! We shall have to see what happens tomorrow though."
James Thompson, Car 3, Vauxhall Motorsport Astra Coupe
Sprint - 2nd, Feature - 4th
"I'm really pleased with the first session but that second session was a bit slap-dash. We were pushed for time there. But, at the end of the day, I was the fastest Vauxhall on track today and I was carrying maximum ballast so I couldn't ask for more. And to be on the front row with all that weight, well, that's as good as it gets. You can only do your best and that's what I've done."
OTHER VAUXHALL NEWS
Matt Neal, Car 0, Egg Sport Vauxhall Astra Coupe
Sprint - 3rd, Feature - 6th
"A bit disappointed not to have made more of my weight advantage but I guess third is OK for the Sprint. I had a couple of incidents and like Yvan, I didn't get my set-up right either. But, tomorrow's another day."
Paul O'Neill, Car 29, Egg Sport Vauxhall Astra Coupe
Sprint - 5th, Feature - 5th
"I think inconsistency was my downfall today. I would put in a cracking first sector time and then mess up in the second sector and vice versa. But, I'm gonna go for it tomorrow! There are only three race weekends left of this season and I want to impress so there'll be no quarter given and none taken from now on!"
Qualifying Results - Sprint Race
1 Andy Priaulx Honda Civic Type R 54.325s
2 James Thompson Vauxhall Astra Coupe 54.482
3 Matt Neal Vauxhall Astra Coupe 54.518
4 Alan Morrison Honda Civic Type R 54.560
5 Paul O'Neill Vauxhall Astra Coupe 54.568
6 Anthony Reid MG ZS 54.578
7 Gareth Howell MG ZS 54.773
8 Yvan Muller Vauxhall Astra Coupe 54.788
9 Dan Eaves Peugeot 406 Coupe 54.914
10 Phil Bennett Proton Impian 54.975
Qualifying Results - Feature Race
1 Andy Priaulx Honda Civic Type R 54.213s
2 Anthony Reid MG ZS 54.216
3 Aaron Slight Vauxhall Astra Coupe 54.487
4 James Thompson Vauxhall Astra Coupe 54.508
5 Paul O'Neill Vauxhall Astra Coupe 54.526
6 Matt Neal Vauxhall Astra Coupe 54.604
7 Dan Eaves Peugeot 406 Coupe 54.630
8 Phil Bennett Proton Impian 54.706
9 Yvan Muller Vauxhall Astra Coupe 54.756
10 Gareth Howell MG ZS 54.773