Sprint race: Muller in a class of his own

The action came fast and furious, but Yvan Muller was in a class of his own as he stroked his Vauxhall Astra Coupe to victory in the British Touring Car Championship sprint race at Oulton Park.

Sprint race: Muller in a class of his own

The Frenchman got a massive break at the start when team mate Jason Plato, who had qualified second fastest to poleman Muller, had clutch failure and dropped to the rear of the field as he cut his engine and refired it.

Meanwhile, a sensational getaway from the rear-wheel-drive Lexus of Kurt Luby carried the Lancastrian from fifth on the grid into second. Luby held on in a cussed defence for three laps, before James Thompson finally worked his Egg Sport Vauxhall ahead into Old Hall Corner on lap four.

By that stage Muller was seven seconds in front and there was little Thompson could do.

"I tried to crack on as quickly as possible, but once we got into the backmarkers it levelled itself out," said Thompson.

Muller, worried about braking problems, allowed 'Thommo' to cut the gap to around three seconds but held the advantage at that level.

"It's very hard on the brakes at this circuit," he said. "After four laps I had a long pedal, so I had to look after the brakes and slow down. There was no point having a seven-second lead. But I'm really worried about the brakes for the second race [which is twice as long]."

Plato, driving without a clutch, made it up to third as Luby eventually plummeted to last.

"I started to close on James," said Plato, "but for some reason at Knickerbrook the master switch decided to turn itself off. We can't change the clutch without taking the engine out, so I'm going to have to do the feature race without the clutch. Thank God it's a rolling start!"

Behind fourth man Phil Bennett, who was tapped out of the way by Egg team mate Thompson at Cascades on the third lap, Steve Soper's Peugeot just managed to hold off the charging Tim Harvey, going great guns on his BTCC return in the JSM Alfa, for fifth.

The Production class had three different leaders. Poleman Simon Harrison was passed at Cascades on the first lap by Gavin Pyper, then got railroaded down to fourth. Harrison's HTML Peugeot team mate Roger Moen then caught up Pyper's GA Janspeed Alfa, passing him on lap eight in a lurid wheel-locking manoeuvre at Knickerbrook in which he clattered into the Scotsman and forced him onto the old circuit at the chicane.

That allowed the recovering Harrison back up to second, but the feisty Pyper soon repassed the 306 to take an excellent second as Norwegian Moen pulled clear. The scrap between Pyper and Harrison also allowed the ballast-laden Honda Accord of series leader James Kaye to catch up and make it a three-way scrap at the finish.

Yvan Muller (Vauxhall Astra Coupe) 16 laps in 23m47.933s
James Thompson (Egg Sport Vauxhall Astra Coupe) 23m50.258s
Jason Plato (Vauxhall Astra Coupe) 23m51.184s
Phil Bennett (Egg Sport Vauxhall Astra Coupe) 23m56.854s
Steve Soper (Peugeot 406 Coupe) 24m10.118s
Tim Harvey (JSM Alfa Romeo 147) 24m10.591s
Dan Eaves (Peugeot 406 Coupe) 24m15.730s
Kurt Luby (ABG Motorsport Lexus IS200) 24m16.547s
Plato 1m28.478s


Roger Moen (HTML Peugeot 306) 15 laps in 23m21.805s
Gavin Pyper (GA Janspeed Alfa Romeo 156) 23m26.870s
Simon Harrison (HTML Peugeot 306) 23m27.514s
James Kaye (Barwell Motorsport Honda Accord) 23m27.918s
Gareth Howell (GR Motorsport Ford Focus) 23m34.391s
Peter Cate (Barwell Motorsport Honda Accord) 23m37.124s
Pyper 1m32.234s

shares
comments
Qualifying: Muller takes pole double
Previous article

Qualifying: Muller takes pole double

Next article

Double victory puts Muller in the driving seat

Double victory puts Muller in the driving seat
Autosport writers' most memorable moments of 2022 Plus

Autosport writers' most memorable moments of 2022

The season just gone was a memorable one for many of our staff writers, who are fortunate enough to cover motorsport around the world. Here are our picks of the best (and in some cases, most eventful) from 2022

Formula 1
Dec 31, 2022
How the BTCC's new hybrid era aced its first test Plus

How the BTCC's new hybrid era aced its first test

Expectations were high for the start of the British Touring Car Championship’s hybrid power era, and despite nerves and problems to solve prior to its debut the new rules gained widespread approval. Here’s how the first test at Donington Park was passed and the thorough examinations that are to follow

BTCC
Apr 28, 2022
The Ford BTCC superteam combining two reigning TOCA champions Plus

The Ford BTCC superteam combining two reigning TOCA champions

Reigning BTCC champion Ash Sutton and Porsche Carrera Cup GB victor Dan Cammish form a potent line-up at the Motorbase-run NAPA Racing team as the series adopts hybrid power. With Sutton bringing the key components of his title-winning Laser Tools Racing set-up, and Cammish eager to prove a point on his return, their dynamic is set to be one of the season's major talking points

BTCC
Apr 21, 2022
The stalwart tin-top boss still shaping careers more than 40 years on Plus

The stalwart tin-top boss still shaping careers more than 40 years on

Veteran team manager Marvin Humphries and former Tech-Speed team boss has worked not only with stars of the British Touring Car Championship, but legends including Gil de Ferran, Hans Stuck and Tom Sneva in a long and varied career that has spanned five decades across tin-tops, single-seaters and sportscars

BTCC
Feb 4, 2022
The grassroots rise that shaped an understated BTCC star Plus

The grassroots rise that shaped an understated BTCC star

Having started out in club-level competitions alongside his own university engineering studies, Josh Cook's journey to becoming an established frontrunner in the British Touring Car Championship is atypical. But it's these experiences that have moulded the 30-year-old into a humble star, respected throughout the paddock

BTCC
Jan 12, 2022
Ranking the top 10 BTCC drivers of 2021 Plus

Ranking the top 10 BTCC drivers of 2021

A refresh in equipment and some returning faces helped contribute to a supremely competitive 2021 British Touring Car Championship campaign. Ash Sutton was crowned a three-time champion, successfully defending his 2020 title, but faced stiff competition in the final year before the switch to hybrid. Autosport picks out the best performers

BTCC
Nov 17, 2021
Why the BTCC's ballast increase couldn't stop champion Sutton Plus

Why the BTCC's ballast increase couldn't stop champion Sutton

Ballast will be gone from the BTCC next year as hybrid power enters the scene, but for its final season the maximum was increased from 60kg to 75kg. Despite having to carry that nearly all season, Ash Sutton was always the favourite to pocket a third title - the 27-year-old getting his reward for a season of speed tempered by savvy to nail his opportunities

BTCC
Nov 12, 2021
The much-loved tin-top superstar bowing out at 59 Plus

The much-loved tin-top superstar bowing out at 59

OPINION: It's not often that a driver achieves widespread affection for their personality, as well as their on-track performances. One such individual is Gabriele Tarquini, who will soon bring the curtain down on a remarkable career that has yielded touring car titles on the European and global stage - and, famously, in Britain too

BTCC
Nov 11, 2021