Sprint race: Reid heads MG one-two

Anthony Reid led an MG one-two in round 17 of the BTCC. In a typically physical and hectic sprint race on the short, tight Brands Hatch Indy circuit Reid and team-mate Warren Hughes led all the way from the first two places on the grid as Yvan Muller and Matt Neal cut into non-finisher James Thompson's points lead with third and fourth places

Sprint race: Reid heads MG one-two

"What can I say," said the delighted Reid. "It's a big breakthrough for MG and for the championship. This is the first time any car other than a Vauxhall has won in the dry."

Reid and Hughes both made good starts and Reid took advantage of pole to lead into Paddock from Hughes and Gareth Howell in the Independent Team Atomic Kitten MG.

Over the early laps Reid and Hughes pulled away as Howell kept the pack behind them and Muller battled with Thompson for fourth place. Colin Turkington was the first to hit real trouble, his Atomic Kitten MG tangled with Neal's Astra on the way into Surtees, spun and hit the barrier. A couple of laps later the Safety Car was deployed while the ZS was retrieved.

On the re-start, the MGs kept up the good work, while Tim Harvey dived past Muller at Paddock to take fifth place, behind Thompson. The championship leader was the next to fall. The front right suspension on his Astra collapsed and he sparked and steamed slowly back to the pits. He re-joined at the end to check repairs, but wasn't classified. "Gutted," was his simple comment.

Muller didn't stay behind Harvey for long and three laps on, the Astra was fourth and challenging Howell in third. Eighteen laps in Muller dived past Howell into Paddock, but the youngster fought back, re-taking the place into Druids. At Graham Hill though, Muller had the place for good and Howell was slowed enough in the move that Neal also got past.

That's how it stayed to the end with Hughes dutifully following his team-mate to the end and Muller, Neal and Howell completing the top five. Harvey was sixth, despite a misfire and Phil Bennett a challenging seventh for Proton.

A late-race Safety Car period prompted by the need to remove three stationary cars from the pit straight was followed almost immediately by a red-flag after the Barwell Motorsport Astras ended up in the gravel at Paddock just after the re-start.

The action in the pack was more than frantic and there were winners and losers. Alan Morrison spun at Druids on the first lap after a clash with Paul O'Neill, but battled back to eighth and was relatively happy, as was David Leslie in ninth despite complaining: "I don't like being used like a pinball machine, but that's what happened." Comments like: "busy was exactly what it was," from Neal and: "the driving standards were disgusting," from Aaron Slight, give some clue to the biff, bash and emotion levels.

Norman Simon was a comparatively comfortable winner in BTC Production with title favourite James Kaye second after an early battle with Alfa driver Gavin Pyper.

Anthony Reid (MG ZS) 26m38.150s 71.85mph
Warren Hughes (MG ZS) 26m38.380s 71.84mph
Yvan Muller (Vauxhall Astra Coupe) 26m39.754s 71.78mph
Matt Neal (Vauxhall Astra Coupe) 26m40.368s 71.75mph
Gareth Howell (MG ZS) 26m41.241s 71.71mph
Tim Harvey (Peugeot 406 Coupe) 26m42.209s 71.67mph
Phil Bennett (Proton Impian) 26m42.392s 71.66mph
Alan Morrison (Honda Civic Type-R) 26m42.839s 71.64mph
David Leslie (Proton Impian) 26m42.984s 71.64mph
Paul O' Neill (Vauxhall Astra Coupe) 26m43.478s 71.61mph

Norman Simon (BMW 320i) 26m47.506s 71.44mph
James Kaye (Honda Civic Type-R) 26m51.406s 71.26mph
Gavin Pyper (Alfa Romeo 156) 26m51.637s 71.25mph


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