Muller tops practice times at Oulton

Yvan Muller took fastest time in free practice today for the third round of the British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park

Muller tops practice times at Oulton

The Frenchman's works Vauxhall Astra Coupe pipped the similarly Triple Eight-run Egg Sport machine of James Thompson by just 0.056 seconds, with the other works Vauxhall of points leader Jason Plato close at hand in third.

Muller concentrated on race set-ups in the first session, in which he was also fastest, before working on a balance for qualifying later on.

"We have only small problems," he said, "and I am happy to be looking at them, because that means everything else is good."

Both Muller and Plato sported tyre marks down the side of their Astras, evidence that they were running as close to the tyre markers at the Knickerbrook chicane as possible.

Thompson, running less ballast this weekend than Plato (12kg heavier) and Muller (9kg more), was also happy: "The car is good and we're just working our way through it. We used the same set of tyres through the first session just getting it right."

Steve Soper continues to make progress in the lead Peugeot, which was 1.5 secs off the pace around an 88-second lap. Not far adrift of him were the privateer Lexus and Alfa Romeos in a group which suggests the battle behind the Vauxhalls will be close.

The biggest incident of the morning was experienced by Peugeot's Dan Eaves, who missed a gear at Cascades and plunged into the gravel, getting stones into the system which had to be extricated before the second session.

Quickest in the Production class was the GA Janspeed Alfa Romeo 156 of Gavin Pyper, ahead of Roger Moen (Peugeot), series leader James Kaye (Honda) and Simon Harrison (Peugeot).

Whether it will stay dry at the overcast Cheshire track or rain later on is unclear. The Friesian cows in the field next to Knickerbrook were equally divided between lying down (a sign among countryside experts that rain is on the way) and standing up to watch the action.


1 Yvan Muller (Vauxhall Astra Coupe) 1m27.946s
2 James Thompson (Egg Sport Vauxhall Astra Coupe) 1m28.002s
3 Jason Plato (Vauxhall Astra Coupe) 1m28.112s
4 Phil Bennett (Egg Sport Vauxhall Astra Coupe) 1m28.730s
5 Steve Soper (Peugeot 406 Coupe) 1m29.463s
6 Kurt Luby (ABG Motorsport Lexus IS200) 1m30.223s
7 Dan Eaves (Peugeot 406 Coupe) 1m30.596s
8 Tim Harvey (JSM Alfa Romeo 147) 1m30.762s
9 Dave Pinkney (JSM Alfa Romeo 147) 1m30.935s


1 Gavin Pyper (GA Janspeed Alfa Romeo 156) 1m31.808
2 Roger Moen (HTML Peugeot 306) 1m31.980s
3 James Kaye (Barwell Motorsport Honda Accord) 1m32.155s
4 Simon Harrison (HTML Peugeot 306) 1m32.822s
5 Gareth Howell (GR Motorsport Ford Focus) 1m32.899s
6 Rob Collard (Collard Racing Renault Clio) 1m33.395s

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