Neal returns to the top step in race twoPosted: May 1, 2011 Filed under: British Touring Cars | Tags: Andrew Jordan, BTCC 2011, Gordon Shedden, Jason Plato, Matt Neal, Thruxton Leave a comment
Matt Neal continued his 2011 record of winning a race at every race meeting so far with his third win of the season in race two at Thruxton.
He did however have to fight his way to the front as he almost lost second place to Andrew Jordan’s fast-starting Vauxhall Vectra at the start of the race but he held his ground at the complex to tuck in behind his team-mate Gordon Shedden.
Neal was then locked to the back of Shedden as the two Honda’s engaged in a great battle for top honours in the early laps of the race, and made his move on lap four when he edged alongside Shedden on the approach to Church and took the lead on the inside of the fast right-hander.
Shedden’s race was hindered all the way through by a bizarre problem where his air jack had dropped out and began rubbing on the road for most of the race.
The problem cost the Scot in his battle for second place when Jordan began to put him under pressure, and when Shedden ran wide coming out of the final chicane it was the perfect invitation for the 21 year-old to snatch the position on the inside at turn one and prevent Honda another one-two.
Jordan began to pull away from the Honda but he could not do anything about Neal ahead of him, who took the win by over two seconds at the flag, while Shedden managed to hang on to third place despite having to defend from a fiesty Tom Chilton who picked up his second fourth place of the day for Arena Ford.
Jordan has ecstatic with his fifth podium in a row when he talked to ITV4: “we’re on a roll at the moment and the car is just briliant to drive. All the guys at Pirtek are doing a great job and i’m absolutely loving it”.
James Nash had a better race this time but could not quite find a way around Mat Jackson, who made his Motorbase Ford very wide despite some lurid oversteer moments along the way en route to fifth place.
It was a better race for Jason Plato as he managed to fight his way up through the field to ninth place behind his team-mate Alex MacDowall, which soon became eighth place when MacDowall tagged the fast-starting BMW of Rob Collard into a spin at the chicane while running seventh.
Paul O’Neill was running in ninth place, but lost out on the penultimate lap of the race at the complex to Tom Boardman and Tony Gilham. This turned out to be crucial for the race three grid, as the top nine will be reversed for the final 16-lap race later this afternoon.
Boardman had an eventful start to the race when he was forced to show a superb piece of car control when his SEAT got sideways all the way through the high-speed Goodwood corner.
The draw puts Boardman on pole, ahead of the two Chevrolets of Plato and MacDowall.
Race two results:
1. Matt Neal Honda 21m33.457s
2. Andrew Jordan Eurotech Vauxhall + 2.126s
3. Gordon Shedden Honda + 3.289s
4. Tom Chilton Arena Ford + 3.694s
5. Mat Jackson Motorbase Ford + 4.749s
6. James Nash Triple 8 Vauxhall + 4.809s
7. Alex MacDowall Chevrolet + 5.928s
8. Jason Plato Chevrolet + 7.462s
9. Tom Boardman Special Tuning SEAT + 11.196s
10. Tony Gilham Triple 8 Vauxhall + 11.405s
11. Paul O’Neill Tech-Speed Chevrolet + 12.166s
12. Jeff Smith Eurotech Vauxhall + 18.882s
13. Andy Neate Arena Ford + 19.166s
14. Rob Collard WSR BMW + 32.218s
15. John George Tech-Speed Chevrolet + 35.764s
16. Nick Foster WSR BMW + 35.938s
17. Liam Griffin Motorbase Ford + 56.715s
DNF Chris James ES Chevrolet 3 laps