Determined Muller races to first win of year

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The Independent Online

The British Touring Car Championship pre-season favourite Yvan Muller scored his first win of the year in round three, the sprint race at Oulton Park. The Vauxhall driver would have won the feature race as well but for a misfire. That win went in fairytale style to the youngster Paul O'Neill to make it four different winners in the first four rounds of the championship – all driving Vauxhall Astras.

O'Neill, the brother of the Spice Girl Mel C, had been putting in his best showing to date, when Muller's problem and a puncture for James Thompson handed him victory. Tim Harvey took second place after a gripping late battle with MG's Warren Hughes, who was third.

Muller's first win was laced with controversy as Matt Neal looked to be on his way to his second victory of the season until he was handed a pit drive-through penalty for lining up out of position on the grid. Neal led initially from Muller as the second fastest qualifier Thompson made a poor start, but the safety car was soon deployed after York City's new owner John Batchelor had crashed out. When it was called in again, Neal led just a lap before serving his penalty and handing the lead to Muller. The Frenchman kept the lead until the chequered flag.