Anthony Reid claimed a superb victory for MG in the BTCC Sprint Race at Brands Hatch today. When rain started to fall during the race, most of the field took advantage of a Safety Car period to pit for wet tyres, but Reid kept his MG ZS EX259 circulating, and when racing resumed had virtually a lap advantage over his Touring Class rivals.

With a lap to go Reid was passed by Production Class leader Simon Graves, and then Reid's balancing act on a soaked track with slick tyres wobbled as he understeered off at Graham Hill bend - allowing Jason Plato and Yvan Muller past. At that moment James Kaye beached his Production Class Honda deep in the Paddock Hill bend gravel - bringing out the red flags and the race was Reid's when the results were taken back a lap. The result breaks Vauxhall's previously unbeaten run of 24 consecutive race wins in the series.

"I love the British weather!" exclaimed Reid afterwards. "I was helped by my team-mate Warren Hughes. He went into the pits right n front of me, so I though we'd split the difference - he would take one option and I'd take the other. I chanced my arm and that left us almost a lap ahead of the rest of the Touring Cars. The MG chassis is fantastic and we knew exactly what we had to do, and today it worked. When they told me on the radio I'd won the race I didn't believe them!"

The race had started in the dry, and on the first lap Plato out-dragged Muller in to the first corner, and lead the Touring Car's chase of their Production Class rivals until the Safety Car came out. Steve Soper's hefty shunt at the bottom of the hill from Druids saw the field closed up - completing seven laps behind the Safety Car, most driver's taking advantage of the situation to pit and change to wet tyres as heavy rain had began to fall.

There was confusion as the Safety Car had not picked up Simon Graves, at that point Production Class - and race - leader, the field twice being waved past until the correct order was regained. From the re-start Reid picked his way though the Production Class car in front to take the overall lead of the race - lapping some four to five seconds a lap slower than the wet-shod Astras, but with an advantage of around 40 seconds with ten laps remaining.

Somehow Reid kept the car on the track until finally slithering off - to be saved by the red flags and the count-back on the results.

With Plato heading Muller home his lead stretches to seven points heading into the 50-lap Feature Race later this afternoon. Graves took second overall and led home the Production class.

BTCC Sprint Race, Brands Hatch 'Indy' circuit, 30 laps:
1 Anthony Reid (T) MG ZS EX259 28 laps
2 Simon Graves (P) Honda Accord -0.233secs
3 Jason Plato (T) Vauxhall Astra -4.775secs
4 Yvan Muller (T) Vauxhall Astra -6.723secs
5 James Thompson (T) Vauxhall Astra -16.339secs
6 Phil Bennett (T) Vauxhall Astra -21.090secs
7 Tim Harvey (T) Alfa Romeo 147 -23.492secs
8 Dan Eaves (T) Peugeot 406 -26.210secs
9 Steve Sutcliffe (T) Lexus IS200 -28.376secs
10 James Kaye (P) Honda Accord -45.882secs


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