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Toca: REID ON POLE POSITION, NEAL & THOMPSON CRASH

WSR MG driver Anthony Reid has taken his second consecutive Green Flag British Touring Car pole position after edging out Team Honda’s Tom Chilton in qualifying for the first of tomorrow’s three championship rounds at Knockhill. However, the qualifying session came to a premature end when the cars of Vauxhall’s James Thompson and Computeach Racing with Halfords’ Matt Neal collided at high speed. Scotsman Reid set the fastest lap of the day in 54.676 seconds – an average speed of 85.50mph – to secure pole position on his home circuit and, provided he takes up his place on the starting grid, a bonus point. Seconds later Chilton flashed across the line with the second fastest time, of 54.712s – just 0.036s adrift of Reid, despite being slightly delayed by a slower car. It means the championship’s oldest and youngest drivers – Reid is 47, Chilton just 19 – will start the first of Sunday’s three Knockhill rounds alongside each other on the front row of the grid. Glaswegian Reid, currently third in the championship, said: “Once again, the MG has shown it is the car to beat in terms of sheer pace and with Vauxhall having a bit of a tough time things look very good for us. “I’ll be going all out for victory – none of this backing off down into the top ten for a strong starting position for race two. I’m confident of the car’s performance in the later races even if it is carrying maximum success ballast following a victory.” Reid’s team-mate Colin Turkington was third fastest, just ahead of Vauxhall’s James Thompson whose Astra returned to the pits on the back of a truck with massive rear end damage after it was struck at high-speed by Neal’s Honda. Thompson was attempting to pull off the track when his car’s engine failed, but the following Neal was unable to avoid the Vauxhall driver as he crested the brow of the Glenvarigill chicane. Neal needed treatment in the medical centre following the accident, but was later released. “The engine from James’ car had put oil on the track. I hit it and there was nothing I could do. I was a passenger and hit him sideways on,” said Neal. “I’m sore but I’ll be OK to race.” Thompson’s Vauxhall team, meanwhile, faced a considerable repair job to patch up his badly damaged Astra and replace its engine in time for the start of Sunday’s BTCC action. SEAT Sport UK’s Robert Huff and Neal’s team-mate Dan Eaves – who recovered well after his times were wiped half-way through the session due to his car failing an on-the-spot ride height check – completed the top six. Neal, despite his smash with Thompson, ended up seventh. Vauxhall’s Luke Hines was eighth – ahead of team-mate and championship leader Yvan Muller who was at a loss to explain his relative lack of pace in ninth. Muller, the reigning champion, will line up on the grid alongside arch enemy, SEAT’s Jason Plato who was tenth fastest.

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