9 May 2004
Thompson takes win in all-action thriller.
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.
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