Race 3: Huff storms through

For the second BTCC weekend in succession SEAT's Robert Huff took the final race win of the day. But whereas at Brands Hatch two weeks ago he rode his luck in a chaotic last lap, this time he led from the front, on his home track, and soaked up all the pressure his more experienced rivals could throw at him

Race 3: Huff storms through

Huff made a blinding start from eighth on the grid, and made the most of poleman Luke Hines's inability to get away, holding everyone up on the inside column. Only Vauxhall's Yvan Muller was ahead by Riches, but Huff firmly removed the Frenchman from the lead before he could settle in.

Once in front Huff stayed there, but for the rest of the race he had to contend with constant and close attention from Muller, team-mate and championship rival James Thompson and Anthony Reid.

"We've struggled madly all weekend with the extra weight we've had and just the set-up in general," said Huff. "And then we made a bit of a tweak before the last race, it was the tiniest little thing, and it completely transformed the car. Storming!

"I got an amazing start. That's pretty much how it's been all day. Whoever has been on the inside has bogged down and boxed everyone in. I just went around the outside of everyone and it worked."

Thommo initially ran fourth but passed Reid for third into Riches on lap two. Once up behind Muller he started looking for ways past and despite clearly having the faster Astra he resisted the temptation to give his team-mate a gentle tap...

"Well I'm saving the one that I owe him after he pushed me wide at Brands," said Thompson. "I don't want to even the score up just yet. He drove a canny race, a couple of times I could have got inside him, but he'd have probably ended up off the circuit and I don't particularly like to do that."

He never did find a way by, but third place meant that he stays ahead of Muller in the championship, by four points, with just three races left at Donington Park.

"In terms of the weekend we have turned a points deficit into a points advantage," said Thompson. "So that's all you can really hope for but the second race was a bit frustrating and the third race I had a lot of work to do to go from seventh to get up to third.

"You work hard to get past people and consequently you work the tyres hard. The car wasn't quite as good in the third race but at the end of the day the main thing is for me to keep ahead of Yvan (Muller) in the championship. That's all I'm really interested in.

Muller was philosophical about finishing second, his best placing of the weekend. "It was important to be in the podium for the last race," he said. "The first and second races I was very, very slow. I finished fifth and fourth and I lost the lead of the championship so it became urgent to find a good set-up on the car for the third race. Fortunately we found it.

"Jimmy's (Thompson) car was a little bit lighter than me, that's why he was slightly quicker than me. But I did my best to keep him behind."

Matt Neal finished fourth after a brilliant drive from the back of the grid. The Honda driver picked up a puncture in race two and charged through the pack in the finale sneaking past Reid on the penultimate lap. Neal's team-mate Dan Eaves was sixth.

With just three races, and one race weekend, of the season left, the title is set to go down to the wire. Thompson's slender points lead over Muller means that it really will be a winner takes all match-up, and what with the Yorkshireman rumoured to be switching to Europe in 2005, he'll want to leave the BTCC on a high.

Robert Huff SEAT 19m39.688s
Yvan Muller Vauxhall +1.090s
James Thompson Vauxhall +1.362s
Matt Neal Honda +2.342s
Anthony Reid MG +5.169s
Dan Eaves Honda +5.409s
Colin Turkington MG +12.932s
Luke Hines Vauxhall +19.055s
Stefan Hodgetts Alfa Romeo +19.324s
Jason Plato SEAT +20.450s

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Race 2: Hines holds on

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