Sprint Race: Thompson unstoppable

James Thompson picked his way through the hazards to win the Snetterton BTCC sprint race. Vauxhall team-mate Yvan Muller battled from seventh on the grid to the runner-up spot while Andy Priaulx claimed another podium finish for Honda in third

Sprint Race: Thompson unstoppable

Matt Neal had led away from pole position, but it wasn't long before second-place man Thompson started to see water leaking out of the Egg Astra. The pair battled unabaited for the opening three laps before the safety car was deployed to allow Tom Chilton's spun Astra to be removed from a dangerous spot at the Esses.

Neal plugged on despite rising temperatures, but he was running on borrowed time. At the restart, Thompson jumped him at Sear to take the lead, closely followed by the MG-ZS of Warren Hughes on the Revett Straight. Hughes' soon lost second place to Muller, who blasted past at the Esses. "He just came rocketing through - he must have taken advantage of the draught I guess," explained the disappointed Hughes.

While Neal and Hughes battled through the Esses, Priaulx saw his chance and barged his way past at the bombhole. For Neal all was lost when his engine's sufferings forced him to retire, while Hughes himself slipped down to sixth place.

Almost immediately the safety car was again on track. Alan Blencowe's BTC Production Alfa blew up big-style as he changed down before Russell. The 156 spun through the corner on its own oil and deposited a sump-full on the track.

Next time round, Thompson and Muller slithered through, chased by Priaulx and Reid. Behind though chaos reigned, with Hughes, O'Neill and Howell among those in trouble, spinning or running wide onto the grass.

Come the re-start, the top four were pretty much set, Thompson enduring a gear selection problem, his box jumping from third to fifth, to win comfortably from Muller. The Frenchman himself holding on under considerable pressure from Priaulx.

Anthony Reid was pleased to have brought his MG home fourth after starting eighth, but maintained that the current rules work against the V6 engine, complaining that all the progress he made in the corners was wiped out by the four-cylinders on the straights.

He'd had plenty of time to study the Proton's superior straightline performance as first Phil Bennett and then David Leslie - both of whom had made excellent ground in the early laps - challenged. Handling problems eventually dropped Bennett down to eighth, but fifth was another good result for Leslie, ahead of the disappointed Alan Morrison, who'd been forced onto the grass at the start. "We had the pace," he insisted.

Colin Turkington was again the top Independent in ninth place, while Gavin Pyper took the BTC production class. Pyper had slowed in the early laps with an oil pressure scare, but took real advantage when class leaders James Kaye and Norman Simon both fell foul of Blencowe's oil. Both recovered, Kaye initially holding second before being passed decisively by Simon.




1 James Thompson (Vauxhall Astra Coupe) 27m49.032s 84.20mph
2 Yvan Muller (Vauxhall Astra Coupe) 27m50.032s 84.12mph
3 Andy Priaulx (Honda Civic Type-R) 27m51.730s 84.07mph
4 Anthony Reid (MG ZS) 27m53.776s 83.96mph
5 David Leslie (Proton Impian) 27m55.885s 83.86mph
6 Alan Morrison (Honda Civic Type-R) 27m57.665s 83.77mph
7 Warren Hughes (MG ZS) 27m58.287s 83.74mph
8 Phil Bennett (Proton Impian) 28m00.697s 83.62mph
9 Colin Turkington (MG ZS) 28m02.043s 83.55mph
10 Gareth Howell (MG ZS) 28m03.876s 83.46mph


1 Gavin Pyper (Alfa Romeo 156) 28m29.762s 82.20mph
2 Norman Simon (BMW 320i) 28m35.663s 81.91mph
3 James Kaye (Honda Civic Type-R) 28m36.204s 81.89mph

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