Thruxton 1: Muller earns hard win

Yvan Muller continued his amazing record at Thruxton today by winning the first British Touring Car Championship 25-lap round after a fantastic battle with Honda's Matt Neal. The Frenchman has won at least one race at Thruxton when the BTCC has visited for the last four years

Thruxton 1: Muller earns hard win

Pole man Neal led from the start and led until the pit stops when superior tyre changes by the Vauxhall squad put Muller and reigning champion James Thompson ahead of him. Neal fought his way back past Thompson who then got a huge slide on around the back of the circuit. Although he caught it impressively, Thompson lost a place to team-mate Paul O'Neill which he never recovered.

Neal chased down Muller as the race drew to a close and although both cars were evenly matched around the fast stretches, the Honda was quicker through the twisty chicanes. A last gasp effort into the complex on the final lap was not enough and he had to settle for second.

O'Neill finished third having benefited from Thompson's sideways moment and has now finished on the podium three times this year.

Alan Morrison finished fifth for Honda having fought back from a stop-and-go penalty after a comical jump start that saw him pass the front row before the grid had even moved! Morrison stopped and let them back past but rules are rules and he was penalised anyway.

His progress through the field was helped by the fact that three Class A cars were taken out in a huge shunt as the field entered Campbell on the first lap. Gavin Pyper clipped the side of Rob Collard's Astra which then spun while the field was braking and annihilated both Anthony Reid's and Warren Hughes' MG ZS machines in one swipe. No one was hurt but the resultant mess took seven laps to clean up while the field ran behind the safety car.

Pyper did however survive the accident and enjoyed a competitive run which nearly earned him fifth until Morrison passed him on the last lap.

Muller was pleased to have won and admitted that it had been hard work: "It was not easy for sure to keep Matt (Neal) behind me. I was quicker than him before the pit stop, but afterwards when I was in front the balance of the car changed. But overall the car performed great and around here it is always like this so it is the same for everyone and you have to maximise it."

Yvan Muller, Vauxhall Astra
Matt Neal, Honda Civic Type-R
Paul O'Neill, Vauxhall Astra
James Thompson, Vauxhall Astra
Alan Morrison, Honda Civic Type-R
Gavin Pyper, Vauxhall Astra

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Qualifying: Neal puts Honda on pole

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Thruxton 2: Muller takes double

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