Reid rejoices after big points haul

Anthony Reid moved into the lead in the British Touring Car Championship with a win and a third place here yesterday. The Scot broke his duck for the season by taking victory in the sprint race at Donington Park, but knew his seven-point advantage over Ford team-mate Alain Menu should have been greater.

Anthony Reid moved into the lead in the British Touring Car Championship with a win and a third place here yesterday. The Scot broke his duck for the season by taking victory in the sprint race at Donington Park, but knew his seven-point advantage over Ford team-mate Alain Menu should have been greater.

The other win went to Honda's Gabriele Tarquini, while the unfancied Matt Neal had two second places in his Nissan, slipping past Reid on the penultimate corner in the longer feature race.

"I'm very happy with today's work," said Reid. "I've got a big points haul and my first win of the year. I'm going to need more of those to take the championship." Reid took victory, which was also his first for Ford, in a gripping sprint race. The Scot inherited the lead half-way round the opening lap, when the leader and pole position man Tarquini, slid into the gravel trap at Coppice corner.

Thereafter Reid was never headed, but Neal stuck to his tail until the ninth of the 15 laps, when the independent driver's Nissan made contact with a Class B car that he was lapping. Despite picking up extensive body damage, Neal managed to keep up his pace and defended second place to the finish. Honda's James Thompson was third, having spent the closing laps trying to pass Neal, while defending his own place from the aggressive Yvan Muller in the Vauxhall. Despite a great deal of close dicing, the trio remained in that order to the flag.

Jason Plato followed his Vauxhall team-mate home in fifth place, despite having to carry the maximum 40 kilos success ballast on one of the races. Tarquini recovered to sixth, passing David Leslie with a lap to go. Leslie put in a fine performance in the Independent Nissan of the Scottish team, PRO Motorsport.

Neal was not the only driver to damage his car. The long-standing points leader, Alain Menu, who also had to carry 40kg, fell foul of another Class B car and the Swiss driver had to pit for repairs. He managed to return quickly enough to take eighth place. His team-mate and close title rival Rickard Rydell fared even worse, colliding with Vauxhall driver Vincent Radermecker with sufficient force to ensure his retirement.

Reid also led the early laps of the feature race, having beaten pole man Tarquini to the first corner, but the Italian's pit-stop strategy was more effective and he raced out first. Reid attacked immediately, but his challenge was neutralised by his fellow Scot and former Nissan team-mate Leslie.

Leslie had not yet made his pit stop and appeared to take offence when Reid initially tried to barge past. "If you want to annoy someone, run into them," said Leslie. The Mondeo driver then found his every challenge countered and when he finally found a way past, Neal was right behind him.

Going into the final lap, Neal was closer than he had been and when Reid ran slightly wide on the penultimate corner, Neal took his chance. "Nice move Matt, but don't do it too often," said Reid after the Nissan had first nosed alongside him, before forcing him wide.

Muller again took fourth, rueing a slow pit stop which, he felt, cost him a chance of second or third. Thompson was pleased with fifth, and to be the top finisher carrying ballast. Rydell and Plato kept their title hopes alive with sixth and seventh finishes, though a run-in with Tom Kristensen did not endear Plato to the Dane. "I don't even want to waste words on him, he's a joke," said Kristensen after a barging match with the Englishman.

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