Ford takes sprint race one-two

Rickard Rydell overturned his recent run of bad results when he won round 13 at Croft, writes Nick Phillips.

Ford takes sprint race one-two

The Swedish Ford driver led all the way from pole position and although his team-mate Anthony Reid closed in as they started lapping Class B cars towards the end of the race, Rydell's superiority was never seriously threatened.

"That was very good," said Rydell, "because I thought I'd run out of luck this season. Now I just need to finish at the top for a few weekends and the championship position will be looking good."

Reid was second, but came under pressure from the charging Matt Neal in the closing laps. Neal settled for a safe third place, consciously avoiding damage to his car ahead of the feature race when he starts fourth.

Neal was the star of the race on his way to his first outright podium for a year in the Team Dynamics Nissan. From sixth into the first corner he lunged past Tom Kristensen's Honda at Sunny further round the first lap. "I locked up all four wheels and thought there'd be tears," said Neal, "but he gave me room."

When Jason Plato's Vauxhall speared off the circuit and out of fourth place on the exit of the Chicane on lap two, Neal had fourth place and soon he was closing on Alain Menu in the fourth Mondeo. Menu was struggling: "Oversteer in the quick, corners, understeer in the slow stuff, struggling on the brakes, struggling to get on the throttle," reported the Swiss - and Neal was soon on his tail.

On lap seven Menu locked up into the hairpin and Neal seized his chance. Neal's move also held Menu up sufficiently to allow Kristensen to demote the Ford another place on the drag up the following straight.

That settled the order and Reid is now at the top of the points table, one ahead of Menu. Plato's off - he wasn't sure whether a broken wheel was a cause or an effect of the spin - and a lacklustre eight place for an oversteer-afflicted Yvan Muller, mean the Vauxhall drivers drop back behind Rydell in the points.

Class B was an Alan Morrision benefit. The Peugeot driver led comfortably all the way. Rob Collard was second in the ever-improving Bintcliffe Sport Nissan, though he had at one stage been hunted down by James Kaye's Accord. Once he was up to second in class though Kaye first slid wide at Clervaux and then had to pit with a spark plug problem.

Round 13 results

1 Rickard Rydell Ford Mondeo 20m44.933s
2 Anthony Reid Ford Mondeo 20m45.916s
3 Matt Neal Nissan Primera 20m46.301s
4 Tom Kristensen Honda Accord 20m52.629s
5 Alain Menu Ford Mondeo 20m55.774s
6 Gabriele Tarquine Honda Accord 20m56.254s
7 James Thompson Honda Accord 20m57.349s
8 Yvan Muller Vauxhall Vectra 21m03.001s
9 Vincent Radermecker Vauxhall Vectra 21m03.928s
10 Alan Morrison Peugeot 306 21m28.625s
11 Robert Collard Nissan Primera, 21m36.214s
12 Mark Lemmer Honda Integra 21m39.969s
13 Marc Nordon Nissan Primera 21m53.962s
14 Nick James Honda Integra 22m55.784

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