Thompson extends BTCC lead. Rounds 13&14 of the Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship saw Vauxhall Motorsport's James Thompson and Yvan Muller sharing the winners' spoils at Snetterton today, taking a win and a second place podium each...
Thompson extends BTCC lead.
Rounds 13&14 of the Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship saw Vauxhall Motorsport's James Thompson and Yvan Muller sharing the winners' spoils at Snetterton today, taking a win and a second place podium each and boosting their respective championship positions. Thompson now heads to the next round of the championship at Knockhill, Scotland, with a 25 point lead over Muller who has reclaimed second place in the championship after fellow Astra Coupe driver, Egg Sport's Matt Neal suffered yet another weekend of non-finishes. A disappointed Neal now lies in third place overall but with six rounds to go, the West Midlander remains a genuine title contender.
Whilst Thompson took the Sprint race win and Muller, the main Feature race victory, their combined 1-2 finishes has resulted in Vauxhall pulling out an even greater lead in the Manufacturers' championship ahead of MG, Honda and Proton.
Fast and furious was the order of the day for the extended 20-lap Sprint race with front row starters, Neal and Thompson going head-to-head into the first corner. Neal won through but continued to be hassled by Thompson for the remainder of the first part of the race as the leaders pulled away from the main group. Muller meanwhile had a storming start to leap from seventh to fourth by the end of the first lap whilst O'Neill got caught up in the pack and found himself playing catch up.
The deployment of the Safety Car was to play havoc with the running order however. Neal's water temperature started to rise and as the race restarted, Thompson pounced to take the lead. With Neal struggling to keep up and later pulling over, Muller also saw his chance to claim second ahead of the Honda of Andy Priaulx. And despite Priaulx's constant efforts to challenge Muller, the Frenchman defended well to keep his place. With another race to run yet, Thompson's win enabled the Yorkshireman to extend his championship lead further with Muller moving up to second ahead of Neal, who took a consolation point for fastest lap.
After the baking hot sunshine of earlier in the day, the threatening clouds and strong breeze which arrived just as the main Feature race got underway, came as welcome relief to the teams and drivers this afternoon. With Neal lined up against Thompson on pole, cool heads were needed as a scintillating battle developed between the pair at the start of the race. Neal however, was running lighter than Thompson and it wasn't long before he had taken the lead. Muller meanwhile was coming under intense pressure yet again from a Honda - this time, Morrison. And as pitstops started, it was the three Vauxhalls leading with Neal out front from Thompson and Muller.
Thompson came in first for his tyre change but stalled, handing the lead to Muller who had completed a slick pitstop one lap later. Neal rejoined the group in third with Priaulx chasing as the Safety Car came out. As the race restarted, Neal once again made the most of his weight advantage first diving past Thompson and then Muller only to relinquish the lead yet again suffering with transmission problems. Once again, a point for leading and a point for fastest lap was the only consolation for the Egg Sport driver. Muller and Thompson went on to maintain their position to claim Vauxhall Motorsport's fifth 1-2 of the season whilst MG's Warren Hughes crossed the line in third. Ends
Vauxhall Motorsport Quotes:
Yvan Muller, Car 2, Vauxhall Motorsport Astra Coupe
Sprint - 2nd, Feature - Winner
(Re: Sprint) "I made a good, correct start and was very pleased to be up from seventh on the grid to fourth by the end of the first lap especially with my success ballast. I was able to slip through then into second when Matt dropped back but I was really coming under pressure from Priaulx behind me, especially in the first part of the circuit where he seemed to be quicker.(Re:Feature) That was an exciting race! Now we just need to concentrate on winning the manufacturers' championship."
James Thompson, Car 3, Vauxhall Motorsport Astra Coupe
Sprint - Winner, Feature - 2nd
(Re: Sprint) "The first couple of laps were really good fun. I was having a good fight with Matt, lots of side-by-side stuff. Then the first Safety Car came out and Matt seemed to have a problem enabling me to take the lead. After that, it was just a matter of keeping it neat and tidy - very pleased. (Re: Feature) It was carnage out there! But I'm so pleased to have come away from the weekend with a pole, a win and a second. That's a good haul of points, which is the key thing for me now. "
OTHER VAUXHALL NEWS
Matt Neal, Car 0, Egg Sport Vauxhall Astra Coupe
Sprint - DNF, Feature - DNF
Paul O'Neill, Car 29, Egg Sport Vauxhall Astra Coupe
Sprint - 11th, Feature - 11th in class
Green Flag MSA British Touring Car Championship
Rounds 13/14 - Snetterton, July 28
Sprint Race - 20 Laps
1 James Thompson Vauxhall Astra Coupe 27m49.032s
2 Yvan Muller (F) Vauxhall Astra Coupe 27:50.568
3 Andy Priaulx Honda Civic Type R 27:51.730
4 Anthony Reid MG ZS 27:53.776
5 David Leslie Proton Impian 27:55.885
6 Alan Morrison Honda Civic Type R 27:57.665
7 Warren Hughes MG ZS 27:58.287
8 Phil Bennett Proton Impian 28:00.697
9 Colin Turkington MG ZS 28:02.043
10 Gareth Howell MG ZS 28:03.876
Fastest Lap: Neal - 1:13.505 - lap 3 - 95.6mph/153.85kph
Feature Race - 29 Laps
1 Yvan Muller (F) Vauxhall Astra Coupe 37m36.449s
2 James Thompson Vauxhall Astra Coupe 37:37.669
3 Warren Hughes MG ZS 37:38.931
4 Colin Turkington MG ZS 37:41.950
5 Gareth Howell MG ZS 37:51.376
6 Carl Breeze Peugeot 406 Coupe 37:54.684
7 Dan Eaves Peugeot 406 Coupe 37:58.894
8 Tom Chilton Vauxhall Astra Coupe 38:05.237
9 Aaron Slight (NZ) Vauxhall Astra Coupe 38:14.656
10 Anthony Reid MG ZS 38:44.445
Fastest Lap: Neal - 1:12.909 - lap 3 - 96.38mph/155.11kph
Drivers' Championship (After 14 Rds)
1 James Thompson Vauxhall Astra Coupe 146 points
2 Yvan Muller (F) Vauxhall Astra Coupe 121
3 Matt Neal Vauxhall Astra Coupe 100
4 Anthony Reid MG ZS 83
5 Andy Priaulx Honda Civic Type R 76
6 Warren Hughes MG ZS 64
7 David Leslie Proton Impian 61
8 Paul O'Neill Vauxhall Astra Coupe 60
9 Dan Eaves Peugeot 406 Coupe 41
10 Tim Harvey Peugeot 406 Coupe 35
Manufacturers' Championship (After 14 Rds)
1 Vauxhall 333 points
2 MG 215
3 Honda 136
4 Proton 115
Teams' Championship (After 14 Rds)
1 Vauxhall Motorsport 134 points
2= Egg Sport 66
2= MG Sport & Racing 66
4 Team Halfords 45
5 Honda Racing 43
6 Team Atomic Kitten 34
7 Team Petronas 13
8 Barwell Motorsport 11