Qualifying: Thommo evens the score

James Thompson took pole position for the 19th and penultimate round of the BTCC to ensure he and Vauxhall team-mate Yvan Muller go into tomorrow's two races absolutely equal on points. Andy Priaulx bagged pole for round 20, after his team had cured a misfire which robbed him of much of the session

Qualifying: Thommo evens the score

Thompson backed his sprint pole with a third place on the grid for the feature race, while Matt Neal, who still has an outside chance of beating Thompson and Muller to the crown in the Egg Astra, took two second places.

Muller will line up third for the sprint and fourth for the feature to make for a cracking showdown tomorrow.

Of the top qualifiers Priaulx is most optimistic about his chances in the races. "We've definitely got a cracking race set-up," said the Honda man. "We can repeat that form. I'm very confident for the race." He was also more than pleased to have taken fourth on the sprint grid, despite only getting one proper flying lap in.

Thompson rued time lost in free practice to an engine blow-up, but reckoned he'd had quite a good result nevertheless. "I should have a smile on my face," he said, just about managing to crack one.

Neal looked set for pole for the feature until Priaulx pipped him at the last, and was disappointed not to have put a better lap together for the sprint grid. "It was going fine," he said, "until the Melbourne hairpin, when I lost my mind, and the lap."

Muller admits he has never really got on with Donington, but felt he'd made big progress during the qualifying session. "With what I found in qualifying, I can be a lot more optimistic for the race," he said.

The final potential title-winner, Anthony Reid grabbed fifth place on the feature grid, but faded to 10th for the feature. The MG man's chance was very slim and now it's almost non-existent.

The Independents' Cup is also still up for grabs. Aaron Slight leads that in the Barwell Motorsport Astra and he only needs a couple of solid results tomorrow to clinch it. He was the fifth best Independent in sprint qualifying and the third best for the feature. His biggest problem is likely to be Gareth Howell in the Team Atomic Kitten MG. Howell qualified ahead of Slight for both races and an excellent fifth overall for the feature. Team Halfords Peugeot men Tim Harvey and Dan Eaves are still in the hunt, but Harvey struggled under success ballast in qualifying and Eaves had his times disallowed after his car failed to fire-up after a weighbridge check.

James Kaye now just has to turn up on the grid for the feature race tomorrow the BTC production title, having taken the point for the round 20 pole in his Synchro Motorsport Honda Civic. Gavin Pyper was the quickest man in the class in his GA/Team Dynamics Alfa 156 and took pole for the sprint, but a transmission problem kept him off the track during part two of the session.

James Thompson (Vauxhall Astra Coupe) 1m41.378s 88.77mph
Matt Neal (Vauxhall Astra Coupe) 1m41.438s 88.72mph
Yvan Muller (Vauxhall Astra Coupe) 1m41.627s 88.55mph
Andy Priaulx (Honda Civic Type-R) 1m41.688s 88.50mph
Anthony Reid (MG ZS) 1m41.722s 88.47mph
Paul O'Neill (Vauxhall Astra Coupe) 1m41.783s 88.42mph
Alan Morrison (Honda Civic Type-R) 1m41.963s 88.26mph
Tom Chilton (Vauxhall Astra Coupe) 1m42.016s 88.22mph
David Leslie (Proton Impian) 1m42.028s 88.21mph
Colin Turkington (MG ZS) 1m42.075s 88.17mph

Gavin Pyper (Alfa Romeo 156) 1m46.519s 84.49mph
James Kaye (Honda Civic Type-R) 1m47.152s 83.99mph
Norman Simon (BMW 320i) 1m47.259s 83.90mph

Andy Priaulx (Honda Civic Type-R) 1m40.543s 89.51mph
Matt Neal (Vauxhall Astra Coupe) 1m40.565s 89.49mph
James Thompson (Vauxhall Astra Coupe) 1m41.117s 89.00mph
Yvan Muller (Vauxhall Astra Coupe) 1m41.363s 88.79mph
Gareth Howell (MG ZS) 1m41.548s 88.62mph
Alan Morrison (Honda Civic Type-R) 1m41.611s 88.57mph
Paul O'Neill (Vauxhall Astra Coupe) 1m41.644s 88.54mph
Colin Turkington (MG ZS) 1m41.655s 88.53mph
Aaron Slight (Vauxhall Astra Coupe) 1m41.688s 88.50mph
Anthony Reid (MG ZS) 1m41.707s 88.48mph

James Kaye (Honda Civic Type-R) 1m46.799s 84.27mph
Norman Simon (BMW 320i) 1m46.848s 84.23mph
Graham Saunders (Alfa Romeo 156) 1m47.326s 83.85mph

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