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'Fabulous' victory for Reid in Croft race one
25 July 2004
With all the talk focused on James Thompson, Yvan Muller and Jason Plato, Anthony Reid put his name back in the headlines by taking a lights to flag victory in the first race of the day at Croft.
Starting from pole, the MG driver beat the field into the first corner and was never seriously troubled as he picked up his first victory of the season – the second in a row for the WSR team after Colin Turkington's victory at Mondello Park last time out.
“Its fabulous,” a delighted Reid said afterwards. “It couldn't be any better. To get a maximum points score in the first race is great.
“I was a bit nervous at the start because its been raining overnight and the track wasn't properly dry. Because I was on pole I didn't have the track position but I got away well and beat Matt [Neal] into the first corner and that was it.”
When the lights went green, Reid led into Clervaux at the start but it was all change behind him as James Thompson, starting fourth on the grid, tried to take Matt Neal for second round the outside. The duo then ran wide into Hawthorn allowing championship leader Yvan Muller to sneak through into second.
Also at the first corner, Michael Bentwood – who had used the grass for most of the start finish straight – and Tom Chilton touched, with Chilton heading off one way and Bentwood the other. Although both returned to the track at the rear of the field, Chilton was forced to pit on lap two after picking up a puncture.
After the first corner the field settled, with Reid leading from Muller, Neal and Thompson with Dan Eaves in the Computeach Honda and Rob Huff in the SEAT fifth and sixth. Huff was soon all over the back of the Honda and dived down the inside to take the place at the hairpin on lap four. While one SEAT was heading forwards, the other was sliding backwards. Colin Turkington taking Jason Plato for seventh on the same lap.
Up front, Reid had built a small gap to the battle for second between Muller and Neal, while they in turn had dropped Thompson in fourth. With the Honda apparently quicker round the back of the circuit, Neal was pushing the Vauxhall, forcing Muller into a defensive move as the pair came into the hairpin. The following lap Neal looked up the inside heading into tower but the Vauxhall was too wide for Neal to make the pass.
“I reeled Yvan in after I made a mistake at the chicane,” Neal said. “He was surprisingly slow though the quick stuff and seemed to be early on the brakes so I thought I could have a go at him in a few places, but he always had me covered. He's not stupid.”
Behind them a charging Turkington had caught and passed Eaves to take the second MG into the top six while further down the field, Rob Collard and James Kaye were involved in a frantic battle for eleventh. Heading into Sunny on the penultimate lap, Kaye tried to make a move, tagging the back of the Vauxhall and sending Collard into a spin. Although he was able to continue to take the flag in 15th, Kaye ended up in the barriers and out of the race.
In a last desperate attempt to steal second on the final lap, Neal outbraked himself heading into Tower, running wide onto the grass. However he was able to get back on track ahead of Thompson to take the final podium place as Reid claimed the victory by just over two seconds.
As usual, the battle for tenth involved Jason Plato, the SEAT driver slowing over the final laps in an attempt to claim pole for race two. However Stefan Hodgetts in the Team Sureterm Astra was wise to Plato's tactics and he too eased off across the line to take the position giving him the top spot on the grid for race two later this afternoon.
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