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Collard pushes Muller to victory
10 April 2005
There might not be many cars in the field for the start of the Dunlop British Touring Car Championship in 2005, but there's no denying the absolute quality of the racing after an epic race two at Donington Park won by the narrowest of margins by Yvan Muller.
Muller got the advantage at the race start after a poor effort from Matt Neal whose Integra began to creep before the go was given, the Team Halfords man checking this inching forwards just as the lights signalled go.
Muller waved a brief merci to Neal as he slotted into the lead and straight into second place was a good starting Rob Collard in the WSR MG, though Collard had Matt Neal right with him in the slippery 'teg.
It wasn't too long before Neal made it past but Collard would not make the Team Halfords man's life easy and stuck right with him as Neal closed in on Muller ahead.
Further back in the field, Jason Plato's SEAT and Colin Turkington's Vauxhall fought to get the same piece of real estate, and Turkington lost out to return to his grass tracking roots for a spell. He completed some laps with the damaged Astra, but eventually had to return to the pits for retirement.
Plato was later to lose his hard earned spot to Dan Eaves heading into the chicane, the second Team Halfords driver making the pass without too much drama. Confirming SEAT's lack of pace at this meeting, Plato was to come under attack from under attack from rookie VX Racer Gavin Smith behind, meaning not the best of races from the SEAT Toledos.
Plato was to finish the race in fifth, whilst a late pass from James Pickford saw the driver from Macclesfield take seventh place from team-mate Luke Hines.
Up at the thick end of the action, though Neal led the chase to Yvan Muller, the omens were good for the Rob Collard camp with the then fastest race lap on lap six. Collard kept the pressure on and was everntually past Neal, but not before some highly entertaining side by side action.
Once past Collard put in another fastest lap as he closed in on Muller and he was right with the Frenchman, although the VX Racing man's resolve was better than race one, and Collard was unable to get past as he quite literally pushed Muller's Astra across the line.
It's the reverse grid race for the final race of Sunday at Donington Park, and than honour will be taken by the HPI Racing Friends Reunited Lexus of Richie Williams. Race three should be fun...
1. Yvan Muller
2. Rob Collard
3. Matt Neal
4. Dan Eaves
5. Jason Plato
6. Gavin Smith
7. James Pickford
8. Luke Hines
9. Richie Williams
10. Mark Proctor
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