Perfect Result for Muller in Race 1

Former British Touring Car Champion Yvan Muller gave his 2005 rivals a driving masterclass with a lights-to-flag victory in the first of today's three races at Mondello Park

Perfect Result for Muller in Race 1

Muller put his Vauxhall Astra Sport Hatch on pole position in yesterday's wet qualifying session and never looked like relinquishing the lead after establishing an immediate lead over teammate and fellow front-row starter Colin Turkington.

While Muller stretched his legs in the lead, Turkington had his hands full with the lead SEAT Toldeo Cupra-R of Jason Plato, who had jumped Luke Hines, who was struggling with a clutch problem, at the start. Turkington's resistance lasted but a lap, as Plato dived up the inside at the final corner to take second.

Although Turkington didn't let Plato get away, he was soon under pressure from the Honda Integra-R of Championship leader Matt Neal. Despite qualifying a disappointed fifth, Neal surged past Hines on the inside of Turn 7a on lap one for fourth, and then went on to depose Turkington after an aggressive move up the inside of Dunlop.

Turkington was unable to respond to Neal after Rob Collard attempt an opportunistic move to follow Neal through at the following corner, leaving the Honda driver in the clear to chase down Plato.

Despite closing onto the bootlid of the SEAT in the closing laps, Plato drove an immaculate defensive race to retain second place, leaving Neal to take third ahead of Turkington and Collard.

The second Integra of Dan Eaves took sixth place, but was unable to challenge the top five after losing time early in the race making his way from eighth on the grid.

Muller's win moves him ahead of Eaves to second in the Championship, although he must now carry maximum ballast for race two, the grid for which is decided by finishing order of race one.

"I pushed hard in the first laps of the race to get a gap, and after that I was able to look after the tyres," said Muller. "I could see what was happening behind in my mirrors, and I knew I just had to keep going."

Pos Driver Team Time 1. Yvan Muller Vauxhall Astra 25:15.139 2. Jason Plato SEAT Toledo Cupra + 2.876 3. Matt Neal Honda Integra + 3.189 4. Colin Turkington Vauxhall Astra + 6.587 5. Rob Collard MG ZS + 7.396 6. Dan Eaves Honda Integra + 14.251 7. Gavin Smith Vauxhall Astra + 18.348 8. James Kaye Honda Civic Type-R + 22.237 9. Tom Chilton Honda Civic Type-R + 23.066 10. Jason Hughes MG ZS + 23.585 11. James Pickford SEAT Toledo Cupra + 32.956 12. Luke Hines SEAT Toledo Cupra + 53.499 13. Fiona Leggate Vauxhall Astra Coupe +1:05.096 14. Mark Proctor Vauxhall Astra Coupe +1:17.472 15. Richard Williams Lexus IS200 +1:22.386 16. Ian Curley Lexus IS200 +1:23.974 
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