Feature: Priaulx takes first win

Andy Priaulx and Honda came good in real style on a soaking Knockhill track to win round 16 of the BTCC, the feature race

Feature: Priaulx takes first win

"The car was tremendous straight away," said the delighted Guernseyman after scoring Honda's first win in the current formula. He did it from pole, and was the dominant force throughout - though he almost threw it away with a half-spin on the penultimate lap.

Steady rain at Knockhill had drenched the track by the time the feature race was due to start. After a delay to discuss the conditions, the decision was to start the race behind the safety car and hope that the cars running for the first five laps like that would shift enough water to make a race viable.

The plan did the trick and at the green flag, Priaulx put the hammer down, to pull clear of Anthony Reid and the field over the first lap, before diving into the pits immediately for his mandatory stop. Reid was among those who opted for the opposite plan, staying out for a long stint, but as he led. Priaulx was putting in quick lap after quick lap.

By the time everyone had stopped, Priaulx had a 10-second lead over Yvan Muller and James Thompson in the works Astras - both early stoppers too.

Over the closing stages, Muller ate into Priaulx's lead and it was down to around four seconds when the Honda slewed sideways on the exit of the chicane. With mud flying, Priaulx did all he could to save it, and just succeeded. "I thought I'd lost it," he admitted, "so I thought the best thing was to let go of the steering wheel and nail it." Power to spinning front wheels brought it all back and after a tense final lap the win was his, but by only just over a second.

Muller was happy enough with his second place - "I enjoyed the conditions," he admitted, though there was a resigned smile when he explained how he'd lost two seconds tucked up behind Tom Boardman's BTC production BMW, just as Priaulx was travelling at right-angles to the tarmac ahead of him.

Thompson hung onto third, again keeping a firm eye on the title and admitting he'd taken fewer risks than team-mate Muller.

Matt Neal made up time late in the race after losing ground in the pitstop period. He was less than chuffed with Egg team-mate Paul O'Neill, but eventually got past him and then moved ahead of Reid to take fourth. O'Neill also passed Reid before the end. "We just didn't get the set-up right for the wet," said a disappointed Reid, who only just held off an impressive Tom Chilton, again going very well in the wet.

Gavin Pyper was a dominant winner in BTC Production class, leading several BTCT cars home as well as Norman Simon and the rest of the BTCP pack. Simon's BMW was fogged up throughout, so he concentrated on bringing the car home to a safe finish, well clear of Mark Fullalove's Peugeot and points leader James Kaye's Honda Civic.

Andy Priaulx Honda Civic Type-R 44m00.805s
Yvan Muller Vauxhall Astra Coupe +1.384s
James Thompson Vauxhall Astra Coupe +5.302s
Matt Neal Vauxhall Astra Coupe +14.563s
Paul O'Neil Vauxhall Astra Coupe +18.862s
Anthony Reid MG ZS +19.432s
Tom Chilton Vauxhall Astra Coupe +19.818s
David Leslie Proton Impian +27.920s
Tim Harvey Peugeot 406 Coupe +38.580s
Alan Morrison Honda Civic Type-R +45.505

Gavin Pyper Alfa Romeo 156 44m52.986s
Norman Simon BMW 320i 39 laps
Mark Fullalove Peugeot 306 39 laps

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