BTCC » 9 May 2004
Chilton to first win whilst old rivalries flare.
by Andy Stobart
After another action-packed British Touring Car Championship race at Silverstone, Tom Chilton took his first race win to become the youngest winner ever in the series. But the real drama took place between some of the far more experienced campaigners in the series.
The race was over before it had even begun for reigning champ Yvan Muller, who must have applied the oil slick button in his Astra once too many times on the formation lap, and dressed oil from Copse to Becketts and the departure of the Frenchman from the grid was the result.
A slight delay whilst this happened and plenty of time for James Thompson to consider his start from a lonely front row. Come race start Thompson made the most of things and stormed off in his VX Racing Coupe, though with maximum success ballast from his race two win there wasn't much chance of him disappearing off into the distance.
Sure enough, Anthony Reid was soon charging through the dusty oil dressing to close in on Thomo. Reid - in what was muted as potentially being his last race of the season before the start of the weekend for one set of reasons; and was being muted as being his last race in the series for an entirely different set of reasons come the end of the day – was a man on a charge and out to prove something.
Behind the Scotsman team-mate Colin Turkington was off to a solid start before being taken by the ever robust Rob Huff. Come the end of the first lap the field lined up Thompson, Reid, Huff, Turkington, Neal, Plato, Chilton, Breeze, Eaves, Burt and there were quite a few battles shaping up.
Carl Breeze in the strong-at-Silverstone was having a sniff at the rear of Tom Chilton's Arena Honda, a car that thus far had not been as rapid as its form at Brands Hatch may have suggested. Things were soon to change for young Mr. Chilton however.
Further towards the front, in another Civic, was race one winner Matt Neal. Neal was setting about the MG of Colin Turkington ahead, and with the younger of the MG pilots suffering from power steering failure and having to wrestle the car round the tighter corners, Neal was soon through, and Jason Plato too was having a sniff at the action.
Showing intent in second in the other MG, Anthony Reid placed fastest lap on lap six in his charge to hunt down Thompson and, sure enough, the Scotsman was soon with the VX Racing man.
Wasting no time with formalities, Reid set about the task of passing the 2002 champion, with increasingly robust moves. First he was past, then he ran wide and allowed Thompson back. Then they were side-by-side with Rob Huff, always eager for some action, joining the fray.
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