by Andy Stobart

After four laps race winner James Thompson had a quiet race at the top of the field at Silverstone. He was, however, the only man with a quiet race in a thrilling reverse grid encounter in the British Touring Car Championship.

Thompson fought his way to the head of the field from seventh on the grid and, when out of the car at the end, said, "It was a hectic battle." He saw only a quarter of the action...

Rub Huff, courtesy of his tenth place in race one, started the second race from the head of the field and the SEAT man was soon to be under threat. As Anthony Reid discovered at Brands Hatch two weeks ago, Huff is not a man to easily give up position, and when position is taken from him he hardly gives up graciously; this man is a fighter.

One day there'll be an EU directive on stress in the workplace and this sort of action will be outlawed for both the drivers and the journalists trying to keep a check on the action. For the first five laps there was not time to take a breath as there was action at every corner.

Thompson had won through all this action into the lead courtesy of a great start, emulating the WSR MG of Anthony Reid who was another to storm away from the lights. Reid was briefly into second place, but Huff, inevitably, fought back and come the end of the first lap the order was Burt, Huff, Reid, Thompson, Muller, Turkington, Eaves, Neal, Hines, Keen, Plato. Not for long.

Hines was the first to disrupt this order by losing it on the first corner of lap two, running wide and allowing a whole raft of competitors through. Whilst this was happening James Thompson edged his Astra past Reid's MG to home in on the fighting Burt and Huff ahead.

The fight was good. First Huff found his way past Burt, and this allowed Thompson to steal the position from the BTCC returnee too. Thompson, on a charge, took Huff too, only for the BTCC rookie to show just how good a proving ground for door-to-door antics the SEAT Cupra Cup is as he took the place straight back; have some of that Mr. Thompson.

The cars crossed the line at the end of the second lap Huff, Thompson, Burt, Muller, Turkington, Reid, Eaves, Neal, Plato, Chilton. Just as there'd been action at the head of the field, there was action elsewhere too, with Yvan Muller fighting his way through and Anthony Reid loosing out on this particular lap.

Muller's charge was not about to abate, and the Frenchman then took Burt in the GA Motorsports Astra. Another being passed by an Astra was Rob Huff as Thompson made another bid for glory, one that was soon joined by Muller.

Thompson took Huff, Huff took Thompson, Muller took Huff, Huff took Muller, Muller took Bishop, Rook took Pawn; it all got a bit confusing at this time, but there was no doubt that this was cracking racing.

Lap three completed, and there'd already been enough action for at least a couple of seasons of F1, and the order was Thompson, Huff, Muller, Turkington, Burt, Reid, Eaves, Neal, Plato, Chilton, Watson Smith. Breath slowly, relax.

By now there were yellows out on the track, but the field was reshuffling order, seemingly at every turn. Colin Turkington was displaced down the order amidst the action as Kelvin Burt fought back for his place. Young Colin lost out, and Burt and Anthony Reid were through, leaving Turkington to the ambitions of Dan Eaves' Civic.

By lap four Thompson was making his way from the chaos behind with the battling rabble still battling hard behind. Thompson could now build a lead to the chequered flag and take the win, and take the success ballast for the final race of the day.

Further back, at the other end of the top ten, it was Tom Chilton who was trying hard up against race one pole-sitter Jason Plato. Chilton, who's been off pace all weekend relative to the pace he showed at Brands Hatch, found a formidable foe in Plato and his attempts to pass amounted to nil.

Colin Turkington, with the addition of Red Mist(R), placed the race's overall fastest lap on the fifth as he closed in on team-mate Reid ahead, and this lap had made use of grass action too. Reid was tracking down Burt once more and found way past in the sixth lap, but Burt is no easy customer to lose.

Through all this Rob Huff was still second, though subject to constant advances from Muller. Side-by-side they faced each other bashed their doors and, well, continued banging doors.

Muller got past, then Huff pushed the Frenchman on to the gravel. Anthony Reid, never one to back down from a battle, decided to join in and was past Muller as they crossed the line for the seventh time. But not for long.

Muller muscled his way back past Anthony, leaving the Scotsman with a smoking rear offside tyre/bodywork interaction issue. Not that it seemed to slow the WSR car.

The VXR car meanwhile set about Huff and got him very sideways at Priory, and Huff dropped to sixth place. Reid's charge continued and he now was using the advertising hoardings as apex markers, regardless of how far on the grass they resided.

Huff, further back down, continued with his street-fight, and was soon battling with race one winner Matt Neal. Neal was past, then Huff fought back, then Jason Plato was in the thick of it as the relentless action continued. The race would go on to last some twenty-four minutes, but any highlights show would be longer than this as there was action across the field at every corner.

For the final laps the action centred around the MGs with Turkington and Burt doing battle for fourth - a battle that Burt would ultimately win - and Reid trying hard for Yvan Muller's second place such that he would cross the finish line a mere 0.255 seconds behind the Frenchman.

Three cheers for reverse grids!

Even though he was only involved in four laps of the 16 of door-to-door action James Thompson still remembers the race as action-packed. he said getting out of the car. "It was very, very tough. It's great," he beamed.

Yvan Muller, probably better than anyone, knows the value of finishing in all races and definitely has his sights on the championship. "For sure it's a very good result," said the reigning champ at the end of the race. "To start ninth and finish second is very good for sure." It wasn't an easy race for Muller however, and he was fighting with third placed Anthony Reid right to the end.

"It was a good battle with Anthony," said Muller of the action that kept the spectators enthralled. "And with Huff too, and with many cars!"

Reidy, hard charging as ever, was briefly ahead of Muller, only for the Frenchman to fight back. "It was a somewhat opportunistic move on my behalf when Muller decided to go grass-tracking," explained the Scotsman before adding, "he always fights back!"

As for the smoke coming out of the back of his WSR MG ZS, Anthony wasn't too perturbed. " I could see the smoke in my rear view mirror, I think it was from a bit of body rubbing with the opposition - Muller I think," he explained. "You don't worry about these things, your mind's busy with the race."

Top ten: Silverstone - race two

1. James Thompson
2. Yvan Muller
3. Anthony Reid
4. Kelvin Burt
5. Colin Turkington
6. Dan Eaves
7. Rob Huff
8. Matt Neal
9. Jason Plato
10. Tom Chilton