Matt Neal took his second race win of the 2012 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship during race one of the day at Oulton Park.
There was incidents before the race had begun as pole-sitter, Jason Plato, was pushed off the grid with a suspension problem meaning that the pole position spot was left vacant. That meant that Neal would effectively start from pole but he wouldn’t make the most of it as the eBay Motors BMW of Rob Collard got a great start and took the lead heading into the first corner.
However it wouldn’t take long for the current champion to re-take the lead and he did so after battling with Collard for a few laps. However it wasn’t all plain sailing for the BTCC veteran who had to contend with a safety car restart following the recovery of the stricken BMW of Onslow-Cole after a spin at Cascades.
Matt Neal made a great restart but he had to contend with the Honda Civic of Andrew Jordan who had managed to get past the BMW of Rob Collard for second place. Neal used his experience to hold off Andrew Jordan in the Pirtek Racing Honda Civic, identical to that of Neal’s Honda Racing Civic and take the win.
“We’re evenly matched with Andy [Jordan] who’s got it hooked up and was pushing me hard,” said Neal. “It was interesting to see the strengths and weaknesses of the S2000 and NGTC cars between the BMW’s and Honda’s and it made for an interesting race.”
Andrew Jordan came over the line in 2nd and secured valuable points in his championship hunt.
“I had the pace on him [Matt Neal] but he had the extra weight so that’s understandable but it was going to take a big gap or a mistake from Matt for me to make the move as we work very close with him and the team.” Jordan went on to say, “I was happy to sit in there for second.”
“The car felt really good. We’ll make a few changes for the second race but we’re in a good position.”
Fourth place was taken by Shedden ahead of Mat Jackson who had to defend late on from Dan Welch who took his best ever BTCC race finish in the Proton Persona.
Andy Neate came home in 7th in the MG KX Momentum Racing MG6 ahead of the deviant Will Bratt in the Rob Austin Racing Audi A4.
Nick Foster and Lea Wood rounded out the top ten with Olly Jackson, Frank Wrathall, Tony Hughes, Adam Morgan and Chris James rounding out the final points places.
Matt Neal will start the second race in the day from pole with the full 45kgs of success ballast alongside Andrew Jordan.
For the full classification click here.
Photo Credit: Pete Mainey