Anthony Reid was the quickest MG in qualifying for the opening round of the 2003 British Touring Car Championship at Mondello Park, Eire, today. With Anthony third quickest, all three MGs are in the top ten, Warren Hughes lining up sixth, and Colin Turkington eighth.

With the new rules for 2003 meaning just a single 20-minute session giving the grid for the opening race at Mondello tomorrow, the session was action packed, with Anthony briefly holding pole position in the opening stages. A red flag for a beached car with just over nine minutes left provided a brief respite in the action - and then Warren and Anthony improved their times in the final few minutes.

"I'm quite pleased, and I feel there is a pole position in there if we can put everything together," said Anthony. "This is a very unique circuit, and we have had to radically change the MG ZS. We know the set-ups for the circuits in Britain, but when you come to Mondello you are starting from scratch. The strength of the MG chassis stood us in good stead today, and to be third is good. The car can be very strong tomorrow."

"That was difficult!" said Warren. "I did think we would be stronger, but we've worked on the car and have done some good work over the free practice sessions this morning. I made a mistake on my best lap, I got crossed up going on to the back straight, and that cost me. I may have been able to match Anthony's time - that would have been it. We should be able to get something out of the race, and a podium is not beyond possibility."

"I only really got two flying laps," said Colin. "I was called into the weighbridge and my engine overheated. I'm disappointed not to get a second run on new tyres, but to be eighth despite not getting a proper second run is good."

2003 BTCC - Qualifying Round 1, Mondello Park, Eire:

1 Yvan Muller FRA Vauxhall Motorsport Astra Coupe 1m45.651sec
2 Matt Neal GBR Honda Racing Civic Type-R 1m46.016sec3 Anthony Reid GBR MG Sport and Racing MG ZS 1m46.240sec
4 James Thompson GBR Vauxhall Motorsport Astra Coupe 1m46.272sec
5 Alan Morrison GBR Honda Racing Civic Type-R 1m46.560sec6 Warren Hughes GBR MG Sport and Racing MG ZS 1m46.566sec
7 Paul O'Neill GBR Vauxhall Motorsport Astra Coupe 1m46.746sec8 Colin Turkington GBR MG Sport and Racing MG ZS 1m46.849sec
9 Tom Chilton GBR Honda Racing Civic Type-R 1m47.072sec
10 Gavin Pyper GBR GA Motorsport Vauxhall Astra 1m47.384sec