23 May 2004
Muller leads Thompson home at Oulton.
Yvan Muller stole a march on his VX Racing team-mate, James Thompson, through virtue of a better getaway from the lights, and the Astra drivers were never a second apart for the entirety of the race as Muller took victory in the first race of three today at Oulton Park.
Muller, with the lighter car through having missed the last race at Silverstone, was pushed all the way, but though Thompson was close, he was never close enough.
“Every point important, especially fighting someone like Thommo,” said Muller after the race, “he was pushing me to th elimit and I had to produce 120%”.
The real action, however, was behind the leading pair, and that tenth place was hotly contested.
Sixth place starting Anthony Reid, carrying second place success, had a slightly down on power car from a misfire that afflicted him from the third lap, but though the power may have been wilting the girth of the MG was increasing at every turn as Anthony defended position, but ultimately worked its ways backwards through the field.
“The car was great for the first two or three laps, working well,” explained Reid. “Then suddenly on lap three it developed a misfire and lost a lot of power, so much so that I wasn't able to use top gear on the straight so everyone was catching me.”
And catch him they did. The rear of Reid's MG ZS was very battle scarred come the end of the race, and rather a lot of drivers were very familiar with what an MG ZS looks like from behind.
“I had to do a huge defensive job and I'm fortunate to get pole, it's a great result,” said Reid. But what of the driving standards as people tried to get past the MG ZS? “There's a lot of animals out there,” he said, “had I done that to James Thompson, I'd have been slung out of the championship!”
Ahead of Reid come the chequered flag was James Kaye, who had worked hard to get past the WSR MG, and eventually resorted to giving the Scotsman a nudge. “Anothy did make his car wide,” explained Kaye, “it got a bit forceful, but I don't think it was anywhere near as forceful as those who came past behind me.”
Further up the field, Reidy's sparring partner from Silverstone, Matt Neal, had made a bad start from the line, but fought through the race to make amends. “Normally we're away like a bullet, but there was a problem with the clutch,” said Neal off his wheel-spinning getaway from the line. Once he was in control, Neal found himself behind Rob Collard, who had no problems whatsoever with his start.
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