Mondello 2: Thommo holds off Muller

James Thompson continued his strong start to his British Touring Car Championship title defence by winning the second race at Mondello Park today (Monday), adding to his earlier win in race one

Mondello 2: Thommo holds off Muller

The Vauxhall driver was made to work for his win, however, with team-mate Yvan Muller mounting a spectacular challenge for the lead over the final five laps.

The race started on a slightly damp track but, as in race one, the entire field elected to run on slick tyres. Thompson converted pole position (courtesy of his race one win) into the lead, but was tailed for the first half of the race by Honda's Alan Morrison.

The complexion of the race changed when a sudden downpour soaked the track at about the halfway point, causing the field to pit en masse for wet rubber. The big loser of the downpour was Morrison, who had made his compulsory pit stop one lap before the rain fell, and was thus forced to make a costly second stop for wet tyres. The Honda driver eventually recovered to finish fifth.

The field was then bunched up on lap 18 when the safety car was brought out after Production class driver Chris Ryan crashed his Alfa Romeo. The green flag was waved with five laps remaining with Yvan Muller sitting right on the tail of Thompson. The two engaged in a titanic struggle, with the Frenchman seemingly glued to the boot lid of the reigning champ.

Muller finally found his way past going into the final corner of the penultimate lap, and looked to have snatched victory from his team-mate. But Thompson kept his cool, and passed Muller in a bold move to secure the win. The Frenchman's Vauxhall then developed a sudden misfire, and he only just managed to creep across the line ahead of teenage Honda driver Tom Chilton.

GA Motorsports driver Gavin Pyper finished sixth overall to claim victory in the Independent's class ahead of Rob Collard, with Michael Bentwood taking the Production class spoils in his Edenbridge Racing BMW. One of the most impressive showings in the race came from Dan Eaves, who finished eighth in his Team Halfords Peugeot 307, despite the brand new machine having completed minimal testing.

James Thompson VX Racing/Vauxhall Astra 25 laps
Yvan Muller VX Racing/Vauxhall Astra +1.152s
Tom Chilton Honda Racing/Honda Civic +1.232s
Paul O'Neill VX Racing/Vauxhall Astra +3.976s
Alan Morrison Honda Racing/Honda Civic +7.091s
Gavin Pyper GA Motorsports/Vauxhall Astra +21.160s

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Mondello 1: Wet win for Thompson

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