Rydell takes first 2000 win

The start was the key to success for Ford's Rickard Rydell. The Swede, second on the grid alongside team-mate Alain Menu, was quicker off the line and headed the field into the first corner, Duffus. Menu was close behind but could not fend off the 1998 BTCC champion's challenge

Rydell takes first 2000 win

Fellow Ford Mondeo ace Anthony Reid, however, suffered from wheelspin at the start and bogged down which allowed Honda's Gabriele Tarquini to pull alongside to challenge for third place. The pair went into the plunging Duffus side-by-side and touched which sent Tarquini's Accord into retirement. Glasgow-born Reid was put on the grass but managed to recover to hold on to his third place.

Independent Matt Neal also made a good getaway at the lights in his Team Dynamics Nissan Primera and held on to his starting position of fourth, despite the distraction of the skirmish ahead. Vauxhall's Yvan Muller, winner of rounds five and six, made up a place at the lights, passing Honda's James Thompson for fifth.

Thompson's team-mate Tom Kristensen - forced to start at the back of the grid after his qualifying time was disallowed because of a problem with the Accord's rear wing - stormed through the field at the start. He overtook the Class B cars and Michelin Cup for Independents runner Colin Blair to reach eighth by Duffus, behind Vauxhall's British star Jason Plato. The Dane was closely followed by Vauxhall's Vincent Radermecker, another at the back of the grid following disqualification in qualifying.

Reid and Tarquini's coming together saw the Safety Car appear at the end of the first lap, while Knockhill's marshals removed the stricken Honda, which allowed the pack to close up on Rydell. But the Swede got the jump at the re-start, two laps later, and was never headed for the remainder of the 22-laps, despite a mid-race challenge by Menu.

With the Team Ford Mondeo trio putting on an impressive formation driving display at the front, the action livened up behind with six drivers all challenging for fourth. Neal eventually emerged with the place, despite being forced to defend from a virtual race-long attack by Thompson who had re-passed Muller on lap five.

Radermecker passed Kristensen on lap four to take eighth, but the Dane was not to be outdone. After stealing back the place on the next lap, he put in the drive of the race passing the Vectra of Oxford-based Plato on lap ten and Muller on lap 14. He closed in behind Thompson, who just could not find a way past Neal, and got a better run out of the final hairpin on the last lap to snatch fifth from his team-mate on the line.

Class B runners Mark Lemmer, who had qualified on pole in his Honda Integra Type R, and Alan Morrison enjoyed a ding-dong battle for the first half of the race with Barwell Motorsport's Lemmer brilliantly defending his position from Morrison. The Touring Car VIP Club driver's Peugeot 306 was never more than half a car length away and he eventually got ahead on the start/finish straight. However his Class B lead lasted less than a lap as Lemmer re-took the two corners later at McIntyres. Morrison's woes were compounded when his Peugeot began to overheat as a result of following Lemmer's Honda so closely, and was forced to retire. Lemmer went on to win Class B ahead of the Honda of his team-mate James Kaye.

Rydell: "It is quite difficult to get past here and the three Fords are all quick in the same places, so it was important to be first into the first corner. I was not so happy to see the Safety Car out but it didn't affect me so much. I'm really pleased because I've been on the front row in six out of eight qualifying sessions and I should have won a few more races than I have. Hopefully I can now win some more."

Menu: "It was all done at the start. Rickard's start was very good, mine was OK, I thought, but he managed to pull in front of me before braking for the corner. After that I couldn't do anything to get past him. We have got a very good car and we drive it pretty well!"

Reid: "It was a good result. I'm obviously disappointed I didn't win, but you can't win every time you go out. Rickard and Alain were obviously a little quicker than me. The 30kg of success ballast on my car affected the performance I think. I seemed to have problems coming up the hill from the hairpin. It hurt most on the gear change, once I was in the power band it was OK."

Neal: "I'm very, very pleased to finish a race and be so high up. We seem to have had a lot of misfortune this year and lot of it with Hondas. So to be surrounded by Hondas again I was anticipating a big hit, but they all drove very nobly and fairly. We're running the engine slightly different in our car now which kept me ahead, I was able to pull out a car length over James on the straight. It was close though, at one point I could see him blinking profusely!"

Lemmer: "I had Alan on my bumper and I knew it was going to be a long tough defensive fight. To be honest I didn't think our car would have the legs to be able to defend up the hill, but I used everything I knew to keep him behind."

1 3 Rickard RYDELL SWE Ford Mondeo Zetec 20:44.910
2 11 Alain MENU SUI Ford Mondeo Zetec 20:45.853
3 12 Anthony REID GBR Ford Mondeo Zetec 20:49.600
4 9 I Matt NEAL GBR Nissan Primera GT 20:56.892
5 77 Tom KRISTENSEN DEN Honda Accord 20:57.418
6 4 James THOMPSON GBR Honda Accord 20:57.499
7 6 Yvan MULLER FRA Vauxhall Vectra 20:58.228
8 5 Jason PLATO GBR Vauxhall Vectra 20:58.740
9 8 Vincent RADERMECKER BEL Vauxhall Vectra 21:04.970
10 45 I Colin BLAIR GBR Nissan Primera GT 21:21.830
11 23 B Mark LEMMER GBR Honda Integra R 21:40.798
12 33 B James KAYE GBR Honda Accord 21:32.108

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