Pole each for championship leaders, Thompson & Neal. The championship battle turned up a notch today at Snetterton with Vauxhall Motorsport's James Thompson and fellow Astra Coupe driver, Egg Sport's Matt Neal sharing pole position honours for...
Pole each for championship leaders, Thompson & Neal.
The championship battle turned up a notch today at Snetterton with Vauxhall Motorsport's James Thompson and fellow Astra Coupe driver, Egg Sport's Matt Neal sharing pole position honours for tomorrow's Rounds 13 &14 of the Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship.
The pair, who currently lie first and second in the championship standings, battled it out between them throughout the two hot sessions with Neal first throwing down the gauntlet with a stunning pole time of 1m12.421s for the 15-lap Sprint Race. Hot on his heels but hampered by a need to change his set up, Thompson set the second fastest time with Egg Sport's Paul O'Neill in third. Vauxhall Motorsport's Yvan Muller, lines up seventh for the Sprint race after having his qualifying rhythm disturbed by a puncture in his right rear tyre. The Frenchman was also weighed down with 42kgs of success ballast after his Feature race win at Croft last time out.
Thompson meanwhile was determined not to be outshone and once his mechanics had made the necessary set-up changes in the three-minute break, he went out to post pole for the main 25-lap Feature race, bettering Neal's Sprint time with a brilliant 1m12.016s. Neal couldn't get a clear lap to respond and settled for second place on the grid after contact with one of the Production class cars saw him spinning off near the end of the session. Muller was pleased with his third place for the Feature race grid whilst O'Neill had a difficult session struggling with his gearbox.
Once again however, the Astra Coupes dominated qualifying with Vauxhalls filling the first three spots on the grids for both Rounds 13&14 of the championship.
Vauxhall Motorsport Quotes:
Yvan Muller, Car 2, Vauxhall Motorsport Astra Coupe
Sprint - 7th, Feature - 3rd
"I wasn't happy at all with my first session. I had a right rear puncture which upset my qualifying rhythm and then battled with the traffic, which wasn't good today. My second session was much better considering the weight disadvantage I have (42kgs success ballast) but even then I could really only get one good lap in. It wasn't easy out there today."
James Thompson, Car 3, Vauxhall Motorsport Astra Coupe
Sprint - 2nd, Feature - Pole, 1:12.016
"A bit disappointed with the first session really. We were caught out a bit by the conditions as I didn't have enough rear grip and needed to make a set up change. Unfortunately I had to wait until the break to do that, but the car definitely felt a bit more normal afterwards. Matt (Neal) really threw the gauntlet down today so I just had to make the little devil (Astra) go a bit faster! That's four pole positions now in the last five qualifying sessions. I'm feeling quietly confident."
OTHER VAUXHALL NEWS
Matt Neal, Car 0, Egg Sport Vauxhall Astra Coupe
Sprint - Pole, 1:12.421, Feature - 2nd
"That's better! I got held up by traffic quite a lot and it was just a case of getting a clear lap."
Paul O'Neill, Car 29, Egg Sport Vauxhall Astra Coupe
Sprint - 3rd, Feature - 17th
"The Astra was the best it's been for a long time and I'm really pleased with third for the Sprint as I'm carrying a little bit more weight than James and Matt who took first and second. Just a shame about the gearbox problem." <pre> Qualifying Results - Sprint Race 1 Matt Neal Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1m12.421s 2 James Thompson Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:12.425 3 Paul O'Neill Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:12.774 4 Andy Priaulx Honda Civic Type R 1:12.821 5 Warren Hughes MG ZS 1:12.846 6 Gareth Howell MG ZS 1:12.928 7 Yvan Muller (F) Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:12.940 8 Anthony Reid MG ZS 1:12.994 9 Colin Turkington MG ZS 1:13.129 10 Alan Morrison Honda Civic Type R 1:13.153
Qualifying Results - Feature Race 1 James Thompson Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1m12.016s 2 Matt Neal Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:12.183 3 Yvan Muller (F) Vauxhall Astra Coupe 1:12.477 4 Alan Morrison Honda Civic Type R 1:12.546 5 Warren Hughes MG ZS 1:12.560 6 Anthony Reid MG ZS 1:12.637 7 Andy Priaulx Honda Civic Type R 1:12.684 8 Colin Turkington MG ZS 1:12.893 9 David Leslie Proton Impian 1:12.895 10 Gareth Howell MG ZS 1:13.029