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Thompson left to rue race one incident
1 January 1901
James Thompson admitted it was a case of what might have been at Okayama despite a storming drive during the latest rounds of the World Touring Car Championship.
The Briton battled his way through the field from 17th on the grid to finish fourth in the second race of the weekend, setting the fastest lap in the process at the wheel of his N.Technology Honda Accord Euro R.
However, Thompson was left to rue the incident that had seen him starting 17th after a coming together with champion-elect Yvan Muller on the final lap of race one. Despite starting 14th, Thompson had climbed into the top six within a lap and had run as high as sixth before briefly running wide and dropping down the order.
A front-row start thanks to the reverse grid rules looked on the cards until contact with Muller coming through the final corners saw him spin off and although he was able to rejoin, 17th was the best he could manage.
"Unfortunately the incident in race one has hindered what could have been a very different story this weekend,” he said. “We have put in a fantastic performance and have been extremely competitive. To finish fourth is a good result, but if we had started the second race from the front row, I think the performance of the car would have ensured the results were even better!"
On home soil – and on his final outing for the team - Japanese team-mate Yukinori Taniguchi secured 22nd place on the grid and he finished the two races in 21st and 19th places.
"I have enjoyed racing at Okayama with N.Technology,” he said. “I have improved over the weekend and managed to finish as the second Japanese driver in race two. With more time to learn the car, I would have improved my position. Thank you to the team for all their help; I have learnt a lot by working with them."
Taniguchi will be replaced by Macanese driver Andre Couto for his home round of the season in Macau next month.
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