BTCC: Muller wins round 3 at Thruxton

Yvan Muller took his first win of the season with a strong performance in race three at Thruxton. His Vauxhall Astra started on the front row and, having dispatched with pole-sitter Jason Plato in the first few corners, went on to comfortably win...

Yvan Muller took his first win of the season with a strong performance in race three at Thruxton. His Vauxhall Astra started on the front row and, having dispatched with pole-sitter Jason Plato in the first few corners, went on to comfortably win the race ahead of WSR's Anthony Reid and team-mate James Thompson.

The grid for race three was determined by the results of race two so Plato lined up in pole position alongside Muller, with Vauxhall driver Michael Bentwood in third place, Dan Eaves fourth, Rob Collard fifth and Reid sixth. Bentwood however did not make the start as he pulled off into his garage with mechanical problems.

Muller then eased round the final two laps to win the race by almost two seconds from Reid in second and Thompson in third. Plato continued a strong day for SEAT with a deserved fourth place and Hines finished fifth. Muller’s win gave him a ten point lead over Plato and Thompson in the championship with Reid three points further back in fourth.

Reid then attacked Plato into Campbell on lap two and both drivers ran wide onto the dirt but Plato held the position. Further back SEAT's Robert Huff nudged Charlie Butler-Henderson into a spin and ultimately into retirement with his front wheels no longer pointing forwards. Farique Hairuman retired his Proton Impian on the next lap with accident damage rubbing against his front tyre.

Huff was involved in another incident on the next lap when he nudged Carl Breeze into a spin at Cobb. Watson-Smith managed to get past Hines at Campbell and then Thompson passed WSR's Colin Turkington at the final chicane. Watson-Smith’s race did not last much longer though as he was clouted by Hines at the chicane and pulled off into the pits.

Muller started to pull away from lap five by around half a second per lap as Plato fell back into the clutches of Reid. The WSR driver tried to pass Plato on the run up to Campbell and again both drivers ran slightly wide but this time Reid took the place. This allowed Thompson to close right up and he hassled Plato all round the circuit for the next few laps, but Plato was later on the brakes where it mattered and held off the Vauxhall driver.

Hynes got past Turkington on lap ten at the high-speed first corner but the MG ZS tried unsuccessfully to regain the place for the whole of the next lap, with Kaye then joining in to put Turkington under pressure.

Thompson, in fourth, continued to put Plato under pressure during the closing laps. Thompson tried to poke his nose ahead several times but was unable to convert this into a pass. He then tried a serious attempt at Campbell but Plato went round the outside and held the position. The pair continued out of the corner towards the high-speed Noble corner side-by-side and one of them had to give – ultimately it was Plato who backed off first, allowing Thompson up into third place.

Muller then eased round the final two laps to win the race by almost two seconds from Reid in second and Thompson in third. Plato continued a strong day for SEAT with a deserved fourth place and Hines finished fifth. Muller’s win gave him an eleven point lead over Plato in the championship. Thompson remained third, one point behind Plato but three ahead of Reid in fourth.

Race results:
1. Yvan Muller 21 minutes 30.338 seconds
2. Anthony Reid +1.979s
3. James Thompson +5.652
4. Jason Plato +5.979s
5. Luke Hines +7.984s
6. Colin Turkington +9.353s
7. James Kaye +9.769s
8. Robert Collard + 14.768s
9. Matt Neal +24.851s
10. Tom Chilton +43.920s

Championship:
1. Muller 38 points
2. Plato 28
=. Thompson 28
4. Reid 25
5. Eaves 15
6. Bentwood 14
=. Neal 14
8. Hines 10
9. Collard 9
10. Turkington 7
11. Kaye 6
12. Huff 5
=. Watson-Smith 5
14. Chilton 3

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Series BTCC