Thompson wary after 'big fright'

Vauxhall ace James Thompson has said that winning the British Touring Car Championship is going to be "very difficult", despite taking victory in both of the season opening races at Mondello Park yesterday (Monday)

Thompson wary after 'big fright'

The 2002 champion took victory in both races thanks to clever pit strategy from the works Vauxhall team in the wet-dry conditions, but he acknowledged the improved form of both Honda and MG.

"This is absolutely perfect," said Thompson of his double victory. "I couldn't have asked for more, but the results don't tell the real story. Honda and MG gave us a big fright this weekend. Both were fast and it could have been very different. As I've said before, this is going to be a very difficult championship to win."

Thompson's Vauxhall team-mate Yvan Muller finished second in both races, but was arguably robbed of claiming victory in each. In the first race Muller was unable to pit when his team had planned after Paul O'Neill and Phil Bennett blocked the pit-lane in a crash, losing the Frenchman track position. In race two, Muller snatched the lead from Thompson on the penultimate lap, only for engine trouble to slow him on the final lap, allowing the Englishman past.

"I can't be satisfied with two seconds after I was fastest in qualifying and led the first race," said Muller. "The crash in the pits ruined my first race strategy and to lose in the second, when I was fast enough to win... My car let me down too much last year. I can't accept this."

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