VX Racing: It's the green, green grass of Oulton Park for VX Racing
All four wheels on the grass didn't stop Thompson and Muller taking the two front row spots on the grid for the first of tomorrow's three BTCC races. Thompson headed the time sheets with a time almost two seconds quicker than last year, but with Muller just one tenth of a second slower, crowds at Oulton Park tomorrow are set for a close duel between the VX Racing team-mates as they run down to Old Hall, the first corner. Hines was fifth fastest to put him on the third row of the grid and plenty of opportunity to score valuable points for the BTCC championships.
Thompson headed the time sheets in both of the morning free practice sessions, getting the weekend off to a flying start and taking advantage of the reduction in success ballast on his Vauxhall Astra Coupe. Frenchman, Muller, also running without the added weight handicap, was fifth fastest in the first session and improved to second in the final free practice. VX Racing's third driver, Hines, finished just behind Muller for the first session with sixth fastest time and then moved up to fourth fastest in the second session.
James Thompson, Car No. 2
"It was a scrappy lap to be fair. It's a bit frustrating, because we thought we could go faster, but we couldn't quite put it all together. The car was a little bit too nervous and I could only put sections of the track together. Nevertheless it's enjoyable to be on pole. I've been quickest in all three sessions, so I'm pleased with that. You always want to make sure you start on the front row here; it's just a shocker! I've been involved in so many start line incidents over the years – you either get away or you don't, there is no in between. I love being on pole and I'm especially pleased after missing out at Silverstone by a thousandth. "
Yvan Muller, Car No. 1
"I am a bit disappointed with that. We are so used to carrying a lot of extra weight and getting the balance of the car right, today we struggled to find the right set-up for the lighter car. It's amazing really. I am only one tenth behind James (Thompson), but I am still disappointed."
Luke Hines, Car No. 57
"I just tried to keep up with Yvan and James, but they just managed to get away from me. Because of the red flag towards the end of the second practice session we lost a bit of time on the car, which was crucial for us on the settings. We may have gone slightly the wrong way, but it's still a respectable position. It's all about the racing."