Qualifying: Muller takes pole by 0.001s

Yvan Muller beat Vauxhall team-mate James Thompson to pole position in the British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch by just one-thousandth of a second on Sunday

Qualifying: Muller takes pole by 0.001s

Defending champion Thompson appeared to have Muller beaten but the Frenchman put in a late burst of speed to take pole by the narrowest of margins. MG's Warren Hughes and Vauxhall's Paul O'Neill were also just fractions behind, signalling a very close pair of races on Monday.

"It's very disappointing," said Thompson. "We ran the car to race trim in the two practice sessions earlier so qualifying was a bit of a gamble on set-up."

Much to Thompson's dismay, Muller earned an extra point for pole to increase the gap between them at the top of the table to 14. But Muller, who has retired from two of the last four races, said: "I think I already lost enough points at Croft and Snetterton. I knew I only had one chance left in qualifying, so had to give it everything."

Hughes and team-mate Colin Turkington, who qualified fifth, look set to be thorns in the sides of all three Vauxhall drivers. Hughes, who crashed out at the final corner while challenging for victory here in May said: "I'm desperate to win a race - that's the bottom line for me."

Honda's Matt Neal, whose fourth win of the season at Snetterton two weeks ago took him past Thompson in the victory stakes, will start sixth on the grid. Neal is third in the championship and will be hoping the Vauxhall drivers hit trouble for it is his only way back into the title race.

In the Hilton Independents Trophy and Production class, points leaders Rob Collard (Vauxhall Astra) and Luke Hines (Honda Civic) both led their rivals in qualifying.

Hines, who can effectively sew up the Production class title this weekend, was 19th overall in Barwell Motorsport's Civic, but only fractionally ahead of Mark Fullalove, in Techspeed's Peugeot 306, and Michael Bentwood, in Edenbridge Racing's BMW 320i.

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