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Reid finally breaks Ford duck
1 August 2000
Anthony Reid's Championship campaign gained a new momentum on Sunday when the Scottish driver achieved the one thing that had been missing this year: a win.
Ford Mondeo driver Anthony Reid arrived at Donington Park for Rounds 17 and 18 of the Autotrader British Touring Car Championship knowing that if his title ambitions were to be taken seriously he would have to prove that he had the decisive speed to score a victory rather than just carry on piling up the points race after race.
Once the racing started at the Derbyshire circuit, it took Reid some 24 minutes and 44 seconds to fulfil his goal as he cruised to a relatively simple Sprint Race victory, a result that puts him within two points of the Championship leader Alain Menu who is severely hampered by success ballast this weekend.
Honda star Gabriele Tarquini looked to have the race in his grasp as he led the opening lap with ease from Reid, only to misjudge his braking into Coppice and slide into the gravel. Reid then quickly opened up a small gap back to Matt Neal, James Thompson and Yvan Muller while Tarquini sorted himself out and set about salvaging his race.
The Italian's job was made somewhat easier when Rickard Rydell and Vincent Radermecker collided while battling for tenth, the Ford driver ending his fight up from the tail of the grid in the gravel while Radermecker continued.
Alain Menu led the chase of the leading quartet in fifth place but the extra 40 kilos his Mondeo was carrying soon took its toll coming out of the slow corners and the Swiss driver was overhauled by Jason Plato. Tom Kristensen, already suffering the effects of a first corner collision with Muller, was next in line and in his attempts to get by the Mondeo the two made contact. Menu swiftly made for the pits where he joined Radermecker for repairs while Kristensen was further assaulted by Tarquini coming into Goddard's as the Italian strove to make up the ground he lost on the opening lap. The Danish driver eventually pitted but was over a minute behind the leaders and well behind the other wounded machines of Menu and Radermecker.
After the frantic opening laps, Reid set about consolidating his lead over Neal, who was looking to repeat his famous win at the track from last year, while Thompson and Muller set about the Independent Nissan driver.
Behind these four, Plato held down fifth place but had been sufficiently delayed in the Kristensen/Menu wranglings not to pose a threat to the leaders. David Leslie continued to hold down an impressive sixth place on his debut run in the PRO Motorsport Nissan, the Scotsman having cut passed Kristensen before Tarquini's wheel banging episode with his team-mate.
Tarquini quickly moved up on the white Nissan but the experienced veteran was able to keep the Honda at bay for lap after lap, all the while managing to stay in touch with Plato.
Infront of live television camera's for the first time since the dramatic opening round of the series at Brands Hatch, the on-track action kept both spectators and TV audiences enthralled as Neal fought to stave off Thompson and Muller while Tarquini and Leslie continued their titanic scrap for sixth.
Reid was able to maintain a two second gap to Neal for the first half of the 15 lap event, keeping the Ford driver on his toes as the leaders swiftly approached the battling Class B runners. Reid was able to negotiate both Nick James and Lee Linford without any undue hassle although Neal was caught out by Linford, making his BTCC debut, at the bottom of the Craner Curves. The Nissan gave the Peugeot a hefty punt up the rear as the Touring Car VIP Club driver veering into the path of the fast approaching machine although both drivers stayed on track.
This gave Reid the perfect break he needed and he quickly put in several quick laps to open up an unassailable four second lead. The Ford driver encountered no further dramas as he calmly reeled off the laps to become the eighth different winner this year, removing a huge weight off his shoulders in the process.
Neal, the front of his car badly crumpled, somehow managed to hold off Thompson and Muller for his best result of the year so far. All three cars it one another at some point during the final five laps during their relentless scrap although not one of the fiercely competitive drivers did anything to warrant a stern word from the stewards, which can only be a good thing for the championship, if not for the mechanics.
Thompson completed the podium to salvage some joy for Honda while Jason Plato trailed home some ten seconds behind Muller in fifth. Tarquini snatched sixth on the penultimate lap from Leslie but only after the Scottish driver had given the Independent Nissan its best outing of the year by far.
Menu, Radermecker and Kristensen completed the points scorers in a race of remarkably little attrition, however all three were more than 50 seconds in arrears of Reid after their various delays. Menu's prediction that his weight penalty would hamper him this weekend more than most, was beginning to look very accurate and the Swiss driver could only watch helplessly as his points lead trickled away.
Class B once again provided a great scrap between the leading protagonists with James Kaye for once having the edge over Peugeot's Alan Morrison for much of the race. The Barwell Honda driver led away from pole position in class with Morrison, Mark Lemmer, Robert Collard and Marc Nordon closely following. However Morrison gradually reeled Kaye in and made the decisive pass with less than five laps to go. Kaye's Barwell team-mate Lemmer finally came out on top after a race long scrap with the Bintcliffe Nissan's of Collard and Nordon. Nordon retired after ten laps to give Collard a clean run at the Integra driver and Lemmer's task was made even more difficult when he was pushed aside in no uncertain terms by Tarquini as the Italian lapped him.
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