Qual: Thommo tops Snet

James Thompson dominated practice and qualifying for the penultimate meeting of the BTCC season taking pole by just over a third of a second from Vauxhall team-mate Yvan Muller.

Qual: Thommo tops Snet

Thompson set his time before the circuit was coated with oil by Stefan Hodgetts' Alfa. The 156 had gone off the road in the second free practice session after the power-steering failed and sustained damage to the under-side of the car - including an unspotted whack on an oil cooler, which failed early in the qualifying session.

The session was stopped and cement dust laid liberally round the track and few felt they would now be able to improve their times. After a hiatus with very few cars on track, most had another crack and several did indeed improve.

Muller went a little quicker, but when he gave it the big effort he went off at Riches and into the potato field. There was little damage, but Muller had to be content with second on the grid.

Vauxhall team boss Ian Harrison was happy: "We're under control," he said, "until we get mugged tomorrow..."

Vauxhall hasn't won a race since Mondello Park in June, but it's looking like the red and white cars are coming good again just in time to protect the drivers' championship points advantage of Muller and Thompson.

Matt Neal and Tom Chilton both improved after the oil - indeed Chilton hadn't even set a time before it went down - and they wound up third and fourth fastest, demoting MG drivers Anthony Reid and Colin Turkington who'd held the slots pre-oil.

Dan Eaves, Luke Hines, Jason Plato and Rob Collard completed the top 10, Plato vocal in his condemnation of the post-Brands Hatch decision to increase the SEAT's base weight by 25kg. "We're just lacking pace," he said. "They should be taking weight off us not putting it on."

James Thompson Vauxhall 1m11.588s
Yvan Muller Vauxhall 1m11.924s
Matt Neal Honda 1m11.993s
Tom Chilton Honda 1m12.127s
Anthony Reid MG 1m12.138s
Colin Turkington MG 1m12.339s
Dan Eaves Honda 1m12.355s
Luke Hines Vauxhall 1m12.530s
Jason Plato SEAT 1m12.533s
Rob Collard Vauxhall 1m12.567s

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Race 1: Thommo's easy win

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