Round 10 Feature Race Report

Honda's Tom Kristensen showed the Oulton Park crowd why he was crowned Denmark's Driver of the Century last year by dominating round 10.

Round 10 Feature Race Report

The Accord ace was on pole position, charged away from the pack at the start and crossed the line with a 10 second advantage over Vauxhall's Jason Plato, despite suffering from brake problems and a big oil leak late in the race.

The Dane was forced to fend off a late charge by Plato, who had moved up two places from fourth courtesy of fast pit work by the Vauxhall team.

But the Briton was caught out by oil dropped on the circuit by Rickard Rydell's Ford Mondeo that had retired five laps from the finish. He fell back and then concentrated on protecting his second place from Ford's Anthony Reid.

At the start, Reid had capitalised on a bad getaway from Independent star Matt Neal, who was second on the grid, to claim second, but there was nothing he could do about Kristensen who simply extended his lead with every lap.

Reid then lost the place to Plato after the pit-stops, but his team did get some consolation by winning the £500 award in the Michelin Pit-Stop Challenge for the fastest stop of the day.

Neal was involved in the battle of the race, heading a five-car bunch all challenging for fourth place. Neal, Honda's James Thompson, Vauxhall's Yvan Muller, Ford's Alain Menu and Vauxhall's Vincent Radermecker were separated by less than two seconds eight laps from the finish. But the Neal's defence ended when he was caught out by Rydell's oil, overshot the hairpin and dropped back to ninth.

Thompson claimed fourth ahead of Muller, Menu and Radermecker and Honda's Gabriele Tarquini, the round eight winner carrying 40kg of success ballast and never challenging the leaders.

Another casualty of the challenging Oulton Park circuit was Independent runner Colin Blair. He lost control of his Nissan Primera at Cascades and crashed out on lap 18. It had been a tough race for the Scot up to that point as he was forced to pit twice and was then handed a drive through penalty for speeding in the pit-lane.

Class B again provided good, close action with Barwell Motorsport's James Kaye (Honda Accord) and the Touring Car VIP Club's Alan Morrison fighting it out at the front at the start.

Morrison's challenge ended on lap two, however, when his Peugeot suffered gearbox problems, but the attack was taken up by Bintcliffe Sport Racing's Robert Collard (Nissan Primera).

After fending off Kaye's team-mate Mark Lemmer, he chased the Accord hard for the remainder of the race. Collard's best opportunity came on lap 21 when Kaye was knocked wide while being lapped by one of the Super Touring cars. The Honda man's solid five-second lead evaporated in one corner and he was forced into defensive action to keep Collard at bay. The Nissan driver could not get past though and Kaye eventually crossed the line two seconds in front.

"I had a bad time at the end. The last four laps were certainly the most terrifying laps I've done!" said race winner Tom Kristensen. "I started to have brake problems and I was losing a lot under braking so I knew the last laps were going to be close, then I hit a stone or something which caused the oil leak. Fortunately the oil warning alarm only came on round the corners, on the straights the car was fine. Apart from that the race went perfectly.

"This is a very strong championship, there's a lot of specialist guys out there doing a very good job, that's why I came here in the first place," continued the Dane. "It's fantastic to win, hopefully now I'll be at the front more."

"It was a good combination of tactics and speed today," said Jason Plato. "I stopped early because I knew our car would be strong towards the end of the race. It was a case of keeping the gap even between Tom and myself and then push hard at the end of the race to catch him. But then I lost sight of the oil going over a crest and got caught out. That lost me a bit of time so I decided to just back off, look after the oil and concentrate on not throwing it off."

"I was carrying 40kg of ballast so it was fairly hard work," said Anthony Reid. "I wasn't really happy with the balance of my car before the pit-stop. I was suffering a bit from understeer, but that seemed to be cured after the pit-stop and I was actually catching Jason slightly. Then the oil went on the track, some from Rickard and some from Tom, and every lap it seemed to get worse and worse and I couldn't make up any more ground."

Matt Neal said: "I had a pretty crummy start with too much wheelspin. Then the car was going well in the early stages. I felt I was quicker than the cars behind me and I thought we could have sneaked on to the back end of the podium here. But then just after the pit-stop I lost the front brakes. Then I locked up on Rickard's oil and overshot the hairpin. The race was pretty much all over for me then."

Kaye: "It's been an extremely good weekend. We lost Alan earlier on so I thought it wouldn't be such a good race but the Nissan suddenly found tremendous speed and he was catching me. Then I got tapped by someone and ended up going down that barrier. That lost me a lot of time and made it a more interesting race."

Round 10
1 Tom Kristensen Honda Accord 42min 55.580s
2 Jason Plato Vauxhall Vectra +10.412s
3 Anthony Reid Ford Mondeo +13.816s
4 James Thompson Honda Accord +15.608s
5 Vincent Radermecker Vauxhall Vectra +17.517s
6 Alain Menu Ford Mondeo +19.953s
7 Vincent Radermecker Vauxhall Vectra +21.031s
8 Gabriele Tarquini Honda Accord +31.950s
9 Matt Neal Nissan Primera GT +1m00.208s
10 James Kaye Honda Integra R +3 Laps
11 Robert Collard Nissan Primera +3 Laps
12 Mark Lemmer Honda Integra R +3 Laps

Class B winner: James Kaye Honda Accord
Fastest lap: Tom Kristensen Honda Accord 1m24.081s

NOT CLASSIFIED Rickard Rydell Ford Mondeo (accident); Marc Nordon Nissan Primera (gearbox); Colin Blair Nissan Primera GT (accident); Alan Morrison Peugeot 306 GTi (gear linkage)

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