BTCC » 12 June 2000
Muller unstoppable in Silverstone feature.
There was a good deal of panel beating to be done by the teams in the interval between the sprint and the feature but all 17 drivers were present and correct for the start of the 30 lap main event.
Rickard Rydell once again made the best use of his pole position and jetted into the lead with Anthony Reid and Yvan Muller, who had out-dragged his team-mate Jason Plato away from the start.
The lead trio circled in close formation for the first five laps with Plato, the Honda's of Tom Kristensen and James Thompson and Alain Menu's Ford in their wake. However almost as soon as the pit window opened, Muller dived for the pits to make his mandatory tyre change. Emerging after just six laps and now in clean air the Frenchman put the hammer down and threw his Vectra around Silverstone with 110% commitment.
Alarmed by Muller's pace, Ford pulled Reid in after eight laps but he resumed behind the flying Vauxhall as did Rydell who pitted a lap later. That technically put Muller in the lead although it was now Kristensen who led on the road, the Danish driver yet to pit.
When Kristensen finally arrived on pit road on lap twelve, Muller was more than two seconds clear of Rydell and Reid who now had Menu pressing hard in fourth. The three Mondeo's were followed by Gabriele Tarquini, Plato, Thompson, Radermecker and Kristensen. Already out at this stage were Matt Neal and Will Hoy, the Primera suffering a blown engine after ten laps while the Peugeot's clutch disintegrated on the starting grid.
Muller was simply serene at the front of the field, extending the gap back to Rydell with ease. It levelled off at five seconds with Muller vaulting straight back into the title picture. “I'm very happy with the result,” said Muller adding “We made an early pit-stop and I just pushed hard on the new tyres to get ahead of the Fords.”
Rydell consolidated his second place on the road, three seconds clear of the battle behind him, only to lose the place hours after the race when the stewards excluded the Ford for a technical infringement.
The scrap for third, which subsequently became second, was another point of contention after the race. Reid initially held the place only to be dethroned by Menu, Tarquini then moved up to challenge the Scotsman and after a great tussle, the Italian squeezed through as Reid got off line at the Island hairpin. Reid's misery was then compounded when he was harpooned by a spinning Radermecker in a collision which forced them both out of the race. This represented Reid's first failure to score this year and ended his brief stay at the top of the table.
Tarquini then began his pursuit of Menu who appeared to let the Honda through in the closing laps. “I think Alain gave me third (second) place on the track,” said a bemused Tarquini. “He was so slow on the straight and he didn't try to stop me. He lost some points but he won't have 20kg of ballast for Croft.”
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