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Bobby Thompson ‘over the moon’ with podium in first race of the year

British Touring Car Championship returnee Bobby Thompson was ‘over the moon’ to score a podium finish in his first race of the season at Snetterton, having finished second behind stable-mate Jake Hill.

In his first race since joining West Surrey Racing two weeks’ ago, Thompson made a strong start to jump past NAPA Racing UK’s Dan Cammish and fellow BMW racer Adam Morgan before the first corner.

The Essex racer then hunted down and caught championship leader Ash Sutton for second, claiming the position with a breeze down the inside at Riches on lap six.

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The 27-year-old then attempted to hunt down race leader Hill, but as his tyres faded in the final laps, he had to settle for second.

The result equals Thompson’s best-ever BTCC result, with the previous runner-up place coming in a reverse-grid race.

Thompson told TouringCars.Net that he had been concerned how well he would launch the car at the start of the race due to his inexperience in the BMW 3 Series machinery.

“My biggest concern was trying to get the thing off the line, because it’s the fourth race start I’ve ever done in this,” said Thompson.

“I’m trying to collect as much mental data as I can about how to get this car off the line. It seemed to go well – I picked up a couple of spots.

“From there was just about tyre management, in terms of bringing the fronts in without losing the rears, because the front-wheel drive cars are able to turn it on real fast.

“I think I peaked a bit early – I would like to have had a bit more at the end, but in those last three laps the drop off is fairly huge.

“It was a decent run, I’m over the moon on my first time showing the car in purple.

“It’s nice to get it done early in the weekend, when you’re there for the pace and not for the reverse grid, which is quite reassuring.”

Thompson was relieved that Sutton had not put up a hard fight in his defence of second, although he conceded that once he was past the Ford driver he soon found he had run out of tyre life to catch Hill.

“He [Sutton] could have been a lot worse and he knows that. He had one lap of hybrid and at that point I had four, so he was nice to me. He played it fair and square and I’m sure later in the day he won’t be as nice to me!

“I thought with about five laps to go that it was on [to catch Hill]. That allowed me to get close, but the tyres just dropped off. At that point my engineer said he [Hill] was just looking after his tyres from now on.

“There’s more for me to learn – we’ve got the hard tyre next and I wouldn’t be lying if I said I wanted it to rain right now! The hard tyre sounds absolutely awful. But that’s what it’s there to do – create a bit of a mix up, and I’m sure that’s what’s going to happen.”

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