Sprint Race: Lights to flag win for Muller

Yvan Muller converted pole into a relatively easy sprint race win at Mondello Park. The Frenchman's satisfaction was all the greater because his closest points challenger, Vauxhall team mate Jason Plato, ran into problems and was the last BTC touring car to finish.

Sprint Race: Lights to flag win for Muller

"It was a good win," said Muller. "Pole, best lap and victory and the championship gap is bigger."

James Thompson inherited second place when Plato struck trouble and when Phil Bennett picked up a puncture the way was clear for Steve Soper to grab Peugeot's first BTCT podium finish of the year in third.

Muller's start from pole wasn't quite as good as Plato's from the outside of the front row, but the Frenchman's insideline kept him ahead despite a hint of rubbing on the run up to turn one. From there Plato never really looked capable of challenging and then at around half distance the Englishman started to feel a difference in the Astra's handling. On lap 12 Plato felt something break and set out to nurse the car slowly to the finish. Just after he passed the pit entrance he picked up a puncture - another slow lap and a pit stop later he finished last a lap down.

Thompson was happy with the position but not his pace. "Just not quick enough," admitted the Yorkshireman who is still rueing time lost to a misfire in free practice. Bennett in third had looked likely to come under attack from Soper in the closing stages, when the puncture settled things without a fight, sending Bennett pitward.

Soper was mildly pleased by his result. "We're getting there, slowly," he said. "The car was fine, and actually quite consistent." Kurt Luby was fourth in class in the Lexus, entertaining as usual with an aggressive first lap, but then dropping to the tail of the pack. When Dan Eaves' Peugeot ran into understeer problems Luby outbraked it into turn one to take fourth.

James Kaye took an excellent win in BTC Production, staying ahead of all but Muller on the road thanks to the quasi-handicap sprint format. Kaye stayed out of trouble in a bruising encounter in which Ford Focus man Gareth Howell and Peugeot 306 driver Roger Moen eventually took second and third places.

Poleman Simon Graves was the first quickboy to run into trouble, spun out half way round lap one by the already half-spun Focus of Mat Jackson. He battled back up the order in fine style, but then dropped out for good with an engine problem.

Howell led most of the early laps until Kaye worked his way past. Howell also dropped down to third behind Gavin Pyper's Alfa, but Pyper lost out again, locking up and sliding off after encountering Plato as he rejoined from the pits. "He was driving like an amateur," reckoned a very displeased Pyper. That dropped the Alfa to fourth in class behind Howell and Moen.

Yvan Muller (Vauxhall) 28m33.193s 15 laps
James Kaye (Honda P) 28m41.414s
James Thompson (Vauxhall) 28m42.571s
Steve Soper (Peugeot) 28m48.750s
Gareth Howell (Ford P) 28m50.969s
Roger Moen (Peugeot P) 28m52.804s
Gavin Pyper (Alfa Romeo P) 29m01.556s
Kurt Luby (Lexus) 29m05.713s
Simon Harrison (Peugeot P) 29m07.060s
Dan Eaves (Peugeot) 29m12.576s

shares
comments
Mondello Park reactions: Notes and quotes

Previous article

Mondello Park reactions: Notes and quotes

Next article

Feature race: Two easy for Muller

Feature race: Two easy for Muller
Load comments
The increasingly varied CV behind a new BTCC title challenger Plus

The increasingly varied CV behind a new BTCC title challenger

A driver with limited funds behind him, it’s been a tough road to the top of the British Touring Car Championship for Jake Hill. Now he’s a title contender, accomplished historic racer and in-demand coach. It’s a great life for this self-confessed motorsport junkie

BTCC
Aug 26, 2021
The outright tin-top wins achieved by a forgotten tin-top great Plus

The outright tin-top wins achieved by a forgotten tin-top great

Already established as a formidable force in the British Saloon Car Championship, the Triumph Dolomite became a legend in 1977 when Tony Dron's Broadspeed machine frequently embarrassed the mighty Capris

BTCC
May 18, 2021
Five key plotlines to follow in the 2021 BTCC Plus

Five key plotlines to follow in the 2021 BTCC

It’s been a busy silly season in the BTCC since the chequered flag fell to end the 2020 campaign last November. While last year’s top two have stayed put, there’s plenty of talking points elsewhere, which should result in another fascinating year of tin-top action

BTCC
May 7, 2021
The giantkilling 'dad and lad' operation taking on the BTCC's best Plus

The giantkilling 'dad and lad' operation taking on the BTCC's best

The Lancashire squad of Ciceley Motorsport has been a BTCC race winner for several years with Adam Morgan and Mercedes. But the switch to WSR-built BMWs and addition of Tom Chilton as a true barometer for Morgan should see the team step up into title contention

BTCC
May 6, 2021
How a returning champion is feeling at home again in the BTCC Plus

How a returning champion is feeling at home again in the BTCC

After topping the times at the end of British Touring Car Championship pre-season testing, it feels like Gordon Shedden has never been away. But after plenty of changes behind the scenes, the three-time champion is bedding himself in to pick up where he left off

BTCC
May 5, 2021
Why a BTCC legend remains defiant at '97 not out' Plus

Why a BTCC legend remains defiant at '97 not out'

After a year of enforced absence from the British Touring Car Championship grid, Jason Plato is back and hungrier than ever. Despite stellar opposition and some familiar challenges, the two-time champion still has his eyes focused on the biggest prizes

BTCC
May 4, 2021
How Ingram's clean slate can end his BTCC title wait Plus

How Ingram's clean slate can end his BTCC title wait

After seven years together, Tom Ingram and Speedworks Motorsport have amicably split and gone down separate paths for the 2021 BTCC season. With engineer Spencer Aldridge joining him at the Excelr8 Motorsport Hyundai squad, Ingram is confident he can challenge for titles from the off

BTCC
Apr 30, 2021
How the unlikely Capri-slaying Dolomite triumphed against adversary Plus

How the unlikely Capri-slaying Dolomite triumphed against adversary

The Dolomite Sprint was a potent giantkilling weapon during the 1970s in the British Saloon Car Championship, now known as the BTCC. Tin-top legend Andy Rouse explains how it became such a force

BTCC
Apr 25, 2021