Thompson makes instant impact on world stage

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James Thompson started his World Touring Car Championship career with a hard-earned victory in the second race at Monza yesterday.

James Thompson started his World Touring Car Championship career with a hard-earned victory in the second race at Monza yesterday.

The York-born Alfa Romeo driver, who won the British championship last year, put in an impressive defensive drive to hold on to the lead despite tremendous pressure from the chasing pack.

Thompson won by a fraction from BMW's Dirk Muller, who leads the championship after cruising to victory in the first race, with Antonio Garcia third in another BMW.

The Guernsey driver Andy Priaulx, who won the title last season when it was still known as the European championship, got his campaign off to a solid start with a pair of fifth places for BMW Team UK.

* Matt Neal of Team Halford took the overall lead in the British Touring Car Championship after the first three races of the season at Donington Park yesterday. Neal put in a solid performance throughout the day to take two race wins and heads the standings by two points from Vauxhall driver Yvan Muller.

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