Kristensen steals Ford's feature pole thunder

Tom Kristensen will start the final round of the 2000 Auto Trader British Touring Car Championship from pole position in his Honda Accord - a fine reward for the West Surrey Racing mechanics who put in long hours during the week to repair the car after its heavy Oulton Park crash last Sunday

Kristensen steals Ford's feature pole thunder

Kristensen's pole deprived title hopefuls Rickard Rydell and Alain Menu of a potentially vital extra point, but the Ford teamsters will nevertheless line up second and third, and still handily placed for their respective championship bids - Rydell really needs wins, while third may well be good enough for Menu.

Rydell though will have to overcome a determined Kristensen if he wants a win. "Things haven't gone too well for me this year," said the Dane, "I just hope I can finish on a high and forget the rest."

The third title contender, Anthony Reid, will start sixth, pleased to be only two tenths of a second slower than his Ford team mates, despite carrying 40kg of success ballast, where they have none. "I wasn't that happy with the car," said the Scot, "it's quite pointy, but I'm not unhappy with the time in comparison to my team mates'. I definitely think I can go quicker, and maybe have a shot at pole in the One-Shot Showdown."

Reid will line up just behind Honda's James Thompson and the remarkable Matt Neal. The Team Dynamics independent crashed his regular car heavily on an oil slick during testing yesterday. That ruled the 1999-spec Nissan out of the equation, but he bounced back to stick a borrowed 1998 Primera into fifth place on the grid.

The borrowed car is the one Matt used to win a race and £250,000 at Donington Park at the beginning of 1999, now owned by Wiltshire touring car collector, enthusiast and racer Brian Chatfield. Team Dynamics collected it from Wiltshire yesterday afternoon, Neal ran it in the night test session and the crew then worked overnight to fit Matt's regular race engine and go over it with a fine-toothed comb.

The result was a spectacular time from the three-year-old car. "I was pleasantly surprised," said Neal. "It's quite different from the newer car - you have to be on your toes a bit more, because it has a tendency to snap sideways - but it can't be too bad. In fact what the **** have Ford been spending all those millions on."

It was business as usual in Class B with the Peugeots of Dan Eaves, and title contender Alan Morrsion quickest with Morrison's only rival James Kaye next up in the Honda Accord - albeit temporarily. Kaye's time was later disallowed for a technical infringement.

Provisional qualifying times for round 24

1 Tom Kristensen (Honda Accord) 1m23.307s
2 Rickard Rydell (Ford Mondeo ) 1m23.521s
3 Alain Menu (Ford Menu) 1m23.525s
4 James Thompson (Honda Accord) 1m23.612s
5 Matt Neal (Nissan Primera) 1m23.731s
6 Anthony Reid (Ford Mondeo) 1m23.732s
7 Gabriele Tarquini (Honda Accord) 1m23.794s
8 Vincent Radermecker (Vauxhall Vectra) 1m23.970s
9 Yvan Muller (Vauxhall Vectra) 1m23.990s
10 Jason Plato (Vauxhall Vectra 1m24.070s
11 David Leslie (Nissan Primera) 1m24.786s
12 Dan Eaves (Peugeot 306 GTi - B) 1m32.944s
13 Alan Morrison (Peugeot 306GTi - B) 1m33.643s
14 Mark Lemmer (Honda Accord - B) 1m34.474s
15 Tom Ferrier (Alfa Romeo 156 - B) 1m34.478s

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