Neal outfoxes Plato for first NGTC Honda win

Matt Neal won out in a classic scrap with his old foe Jason Plato to win race two of the weekend at Brands Hatch, the first win for the new NGTC Honda Civic.

 Neal lead home a one-two for the manufacturer ahead of the Eurotech version of Andrew Jordan, but was forced to fight for his well-deserved first victory of the season.

The race started in the perfect manner for race one winner Rob Collard who made another electric start in the rear-wheel drive BMW to pull out a lead of over a second ahead of Neal by the end of lap one ahead of Tom Onslow-Cole, Plato and Gordon Shedden.

Plato was on a mission early on however, and on lap three he made a move at Paddock Hill bend to pass Onslow-Cole, before Shedden got involved in the party and tagged the BMW into a half-spin at Druids.

As Onslow-Cole then took a drive-through penalty for a jump start, the dramatic sight of his team-mate Nick Foster on his roof caused a safety car. Foster had lost it exiting Druids and rolled against the tyrewall, but got out of the car unhurt thankfully.

While Shedden retired with more mechanical dramas, on the restart the crowd were treated to a superb battle between best of rivals Neal and Plato, Neal defending grimly to hang on ahead of the MG which looked strong exiting the final corner.

As Jordan made a move on Collard for third place on the main straight, on lap 17 Plato finally decided to give Neal’s Honda a nudge at Clearways, pulling alongside and taking the lead of the race.

But Neal wasn’t finished yet, and returned the favour at Druids as he tried to unsettle his rival, before snatching back the lead by repeating Plato’s move by diving inside the MG in front of the cheering crowds back into the lead at Clearways.

Neal then got his head down and began to pull out a small lead, leaving Jordan to attack Plato for second place, which he took with a clean late-braking move at Paddock Hill bend on lap 24.

Neal claimed his first win of the season and for the new NGTC Honda Civic, ahead of Jordan, Plato, and another impressive showing by Matt Jackson in fourth, holding off the flying Audi Rob Austin in fifth.

Neal told ITV4: “I thought when Jason went past me he was getting a bit impatient. I thought he was going to do me once and for all, but i kept on fighting and got him back.”

“It was a good race. Hard, but a good race and it’s good to get the first race win for the new car. It’s not a bad start is it?”

After avoiding the spinning Proton of Dan Welch on lap two at Graham Hill, Dave Newsham recovered well up to ninth place in the ES Racing Vauxhall Vectra, beating Onslow-Cole to the line with a better exit from the final corner after the pair overtook Welch and Liam Griffin’s Redstone Ford.

Oliver Jackson will start from pole position for the reverse grid race later this afternoon for AMD Milltek Racing in theVolkswagen Golf, ahead of Jeff Smith, Collard and Austin on row two, Neal starting eighth.

Race two results:

1.  Matt Neal        Dynamics Honda     24m52.965s
2.  Andrew Jordan    Eurotech Honda       + 0.360s
3.  Jason Plato      Triple 8 MG          + 1.720s
4.  Mat Jackson      Motorbase Ford       + 3.516s
5.  Rob Austin       Austin Audi          + 3.973s
6.  Rob Collard      WSR BMW              + 7.865s
7.  Jeff Smith       Eurotech Honda       + 8.561s
8.  Ollie Jackson    AmD Volkswagen      + 14.521s
9.  Dave Newsham     ES Vauxhall         + 16.334s
10.  Tom Onslow-Cole  WSR BMW             + 16.417s
11.  Daniel Welch     Welch Proton        + 16.493s
12.  Liam Griffin     Motorbase Ford      + 17.351s
13.  Tony Gilham      Gilham Honda        + 19.962s
14.  Andy Neate       Triple 8 MG         + 24.261s
15.  Lea Wood         Wood Vauxhall       + 32.658s
16.  Tony Hughes      Speedworks Toyota   + 44.404s
17.  John Thorne      Thorney Vauxhall    + 47.446s
DNF     Gordon Shedden   Dynamics Honda        13 laps
DNF     Nick Foster      WSR BMW                6 laps
DNF     Chris James      ES Vauxhall            6 laps
DNF     Aron Smith       Motorbase Ford         3 laps


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