Reid wins sprint race

Anthony Reid broke his BTCC duck for Ford at Donington Park as sunshine and live TV cameras brought the best out of the championship.

Reid wins sprint race

It was thrill-a-minute stuff, though Reid probably had the easiest time of any driver in the race. Matt Neal held onto second place despite damaging the Team Dynamics Nissan while lapping backmarkers, and having to fend off a determined challenge from third place man James Thompson in the Honda, who in turn had to deal with an even more determined assault from Yvan Muller's Vauxhall.

Reid inherited the lead half way round lap one when poleman Gabriele Tarquini slid across the gravel trap at Coppice. "I locked a wheel. It was my fault," admitted the disappointed Italian. Thereafter Reid reckoned it was all: "just so easy," though it didn't look that way for much of the distance as Neal was right in his wheel tracks. Neal explained his tactics: "I reckoned that I'd keep it neat, look after the tyres and when we get to lap the backmarkers, he'd hit someone, but it was me that did that."

From that point Reid was away clear, but Neal fell back into the clutches of Thompson and Muller and the trio battled wheel-to-wheel, and sometimes wing-to-door panel, to the flag, with Thompson and Muller just failing to make up places.

Jason Plato was fifth and Tarquini recovered to sixth, despite making contact with fellow Honda drivers Tom Kristensen and Mark Lemmer on the way. David Leslie ran a great race in the PRO Motorsport Nissan, keeping Tarquini behind him until the penultimate lap, and chasing the Honda home to be seventh.

Class B winner Alan Morrison trailed James Kaye's Honda for most of the race, but Morrison's Peugeot had what it takes at the end. "They've made big progress," said Morrison, "and his two poles show they've got the speed now, but we still seem to have the better car over a race distance."

The points race has also closed up, as leader Alain Menu lost time when he too collected a backmarker he was lapping and could only finish eighth. Reid, Muller and Plato have all moved closer to the Swiss driver, and there's every chance that Reid will move to the top of the standings after this afternoon's feature race. Rickard Rydell failed to score after collecting Vincent Radermecker's Vauxhall and drops from second to third, behind Reid.

Drivers' Championship after round 17: 1 Menu, 147pts; 2, Reid, 145; 3 Rydell, 134; 4 Muller, 134; 5, Plato, 119; 6, Tarquini, 95; etc.

Top Ten Results from Round 17
1 Anthony Reid Ford Mondeo Zetec 24m44.363s
2 Matt Neal Nissan Primera GT 24m48.383s
3 James Thompson Honda Accord 24m48.880s
4 Yvan Muller Vauxhall Vectra 24m49.213s
5 Jason Plato Vauxhall Vectra 24m57.932s
6 Gabriele Tarquini Honda Accord 25m00.732s
7 David Leslie Nissan Primera GT 25m01.717s
8 Alain Menu Ford Mondeo Zetec 25m34.483s
9 Vincent Radermecker Vauxhall Vectra 25m38.721s
10 Tom Kristensen Honda Accord 25m53.809s

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