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Motor Racing

Thompson joint top after points haul

Matt Neal, Luke Hines and James Thompson were the three British Touring Car Championship race winners as the tight confines of Brands Hatch delivered the usual blend of dramatic battles and crashes.

Thompson, winner of the third race, was the weekend's top scorer and wiped out the small advantage Yvan Muller had established to put the pair equal at the top of the standings. Neal had an up and down weekend in his Honda, triumphing in race one, failing to start race two and battling through from the back to seventh in race three.

Hines took advantage of the series' new reverse-grid race formats. Hines was ninth in race one and so started second in race two. He made an excellent start and led all the way to take a narrow win from Thompson and Muller.

Jason Plato, the returning hero of the first meeting of the year at Thruxton, was in big trouble almost as soon as the first race began. Starting from well down the grid after problems in qualifying, he tangled with another car and slammed hard into the barrier on the run up to the first corner. The SEAT crew worked miracles to get the car running for race three, but it was not in perfect shape and retired.

In contrast, Plato's young team-mate Rob Huff had an excellent weekend. He was a close second to Neal in race one, battled up to fourth in race two before a clash with Anthony Reid damaged the car and dropped him to 11th. Another battling drive earned him fourth in the last race.