Title goes to final race as Reid takes Indy honours
The 2004 BTCC Champion will be decided in the final race of the season after Yvan Muller clawed back valuable points in the second race of the day at Donington. Team Honda’s Tom Chilton took his second BTCC victory, but was followed home by Yvan Muller, who narrowly failed to catch the youngster in the closing stages of the race. Dan Eaves finished third, with Anthony Reid in fourth, enough to secure the HarrierZeuros Independents Trophy. Championship points leader James Thompson finished in fifth position.
At the start of the race, poleman Rob Huff led into Redgate, but his time at the front was short-lived as he ran wide at the Old Hairpin allowing both Tom Chilton and Yvan Muller to get through. Dan Eaves followed shortly afterwards and then put Muller under pressure in second place, passing the VX Racing driver before the end of the lap. However Muller made a late darting move at Redgate on the second lap to take the position back.
At the end of the first lap, Thompson was running seventh after running off on the grass through the Craner Curves. He found himself in the middle of a five-car fight for positions 4-8, engulfed in a battle with Rob Huff in the Seat Toledo.
Just as in the first race, Matt Neal was forced to retire, this time after completing just a handful of laps. His teammate continued to pester Yvan Muller, and hit the Astra Coupé hard, knocking it sideways before Muller fought back to pass and make the move stick on lap eight. He then set about chasing Tom Chilton at the front.
Muller set three fastest laps as he reeled in Chilton, at around 4 tenths a lap. Starting the final lap of the race, the Frenchman had visibly closed the gap and was hot on the heels of the Honda. However, he was just short of the pace needed and Chilton came home just under half a second ahead of Muller.
Muller commented: “The car was very quick towards the end, but we just didn’t have the pace at the start of the race. We will adjust one small detail for the last race, and we will have a bit more weight, but the car is the best it has been all year.”
Anthony Reid finished the race in fourth position, which was enough see him provisionally crowned HarrierZeuros Independents Champion.
With Thompson finishing fifth, he leads Muller by six points in the championship and the title will be decided in the very last race of the year…