Neal holds on for race one win

Matt Neal took his second consecutive win by taking the first British Touring Car race of the day at Donington, while his team mate Gordon Shedden was excluded from third after a post-race technical infringement.

The Hondas of Neal and Shedden both made poor starts from the front row of the grid and where jumped by the rapid-starting Vauxhall Vectra of James Nash who snuck through the middle of the two Civics to lead the field on the opening lap of the race.

The lead was short-lived however as Neal quickly undid the damage on lap two when he comfortably outbraked Nash up the inside into Donington’s first corner, Redgate, and left his team mate to hound the rear bumper of the black Vectra.

Shedden in the end was to lose out when he was caught out during his attacking of Nash at the Old Hairpin, and as he drifted wide it allowed Andrew Jordan in the Pirtek Racing Vauxhall to snatch third place away from the Scot on the run up to Mcleans.

Jordan then continued his charge by outbraking his Vauxhall compatriot Nash for second place at Redgate, where he then spent the second half of the race attempting to cut down Neal’s race lead which was initially just under two seconds.

Although he did narrow the gap to 0.4s by the finish, it was not wnough to stop Neal taking his second win of the season, ahead of Jordan and Shedden after the second Honda made his way past the Triple Eight Vectra for the final podium spot. Shedden’s celebrations were short lived however as he was later excluded from the race for a technical infringement.

Tom Chilton therefore inherited fourth place for the Arena Ford team and, although he dropped to over four seconds behind the lead bythe end, he comfortably beat Mat Jackson in the older-spec Motorbase Ford.

Rob Collard drove a fantastic race to a competitive sixth in the West Surrey Racing BMW, showing encouraging pace as he challenged the top six ahead of Tom Boardman, Paul O’Neill and the top Silverline Chevrolet of Alex MacDowall.

One of the biggest sufferers from the day’s opening race turned out to be the championship leader Jason Plato, who would not score any points as he lost two laps due to a left-front tyre failure in the latter half of the race.

Jordan’s team-mate Jeff Smith came back down to earth after his brilliant sixth place starting spot yesterday when he was left trying to recover from an incident on the opening lap which delayed several drivers, ending the race 10th.

Dave Newsham’s first BTCC race at Donington ended before turn one after he was involved in a collision at the start with Tech-Speed’s John George.

Race one result:

 1.  Matt Neal        Honda                  19m13.620s
2.  Andrew Jordan    Eurotech Vauxhall        + 0.359s
3.  Gordon Shedden   Honda                    + 1.263s
4.  James Nash       Triple 8 Vauxhall        + 2.024s
5.  Tom Chilton      Arena Ford               + 4.532s
6.  Mat Jackson      Motorbase Ford          + 10.943s
7.  Rob Collard      WSR BMW                 + 14.658s
8.  Tom Boardman     Special Tuning SEAT     + 15.094s
9.  Paul O’Neill     Tech-Speed Chevrolet    + 18.433s
10.  Alex MacDowall   Chevrolet               + 19.110s
11.  Jeff Smith       Eurotech Vauxhall       + 19.550s
12.  Tom Onslow-Cole  AmD Volkswagen          + 25.084s
13.  Nick Foster      WSR BMW                 + 25.562s
14.  Liam Griffin     Motorbase Ford          + 29.907s
15.  Andy Neate       Arena Ford              + 30.569s
16.  Tony Gilham      Triple 8 Vauxhall       + 30.658s
17.  Frank Wrathall   Dynojet Toyota          + 38.660s
18.  Chris James      ES Chevrolet          + 1m02.953s
19.  Jason Plato      Chevrolet                + 2 laps
20.  Tony Hughes      Speedworks Toyota        + 2 laps
DNF     John George      Tech-Speed Chevrolet       2 laps
DNF     Dave Newsham     Geoff Steel BMW            0 laps
DNF     Rob Austin       Austin Audi                0 laps

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