Tag: Matt Neal

BTCC: Champion trio delivers at Donington Park

The three most successful drivers in the British Touring Car Championship field took a win apiece in a thrilling triple-header at Donington Park.

With seven drivers’ championships between them it was the class of Jason Plato, Colin Turkington and Matt Neal that rose to the surface on a brilliant day of racing in Leicestershire.

Left slightly disappointed that he couldn’t convert his superior free practice pace into pole position, Team BMR’s Plato wasted little time in reaching the race one summit.

He immediately blasted by Gordon Shedden’s Honda Civic Type R off the line and had enough grunt in his VW CC to be nudging the sister car of Turkington into the first corner. Reigning champ Turkington held on for much of the opening lap but eventually had to give way to Plato on the run to the final chicane. Plato powered away by more than a second before sustaining the gap for the remainder of the race.

Attention turned to the battle for second which resulted in some epic mid-race action. After trading places, Shedden’s Honda slid slightly wide at Redgate on lap seven and Turkington promptly angled his VW down the inside of the Japanese machine. The Ulsterman only held the position for a split second, however, as his Honda rival fought back brilliantly by returning the favour on the run to the Craner Curves.

The Scotsman managed to keep the #1 car at a relative arm’s length until the finish and celebrated second by also setting the fastest lap. The new lap record holder would now start race two from pole position ahead of Turkington.

Team BMR’s Turkington made it by the pole-sitting machine of Shedden on lap one, and although the pair scrapped ruthlessly early on, the VW eventually pulled away to take a comfortable victory. WIX Racing’s Adam Morgan took his first podium of the season to complete the rostrum.

Such has been the competitiveness to the start of the 2015 BTCC season that Turkington became the fifth different driver to win in the opening five rounds.

It was to be Matt Neal who earned bragging rights as the first double victor of the year after he came out on top of a relentless multi-car battle in the final bout.

Power Maxed Racing’s impressive rookie Josh Cook started the race from pole position and despite losing out off the line to Rob Collard’s BMW, he soon re-passed and did an absolutely stellar job at the front for the first few laps, but his hard work was soon to be undone.

The race was neutralised on lap six when Sam Tordoff’s BMW and Jack Goff’s MG had a coming together at the final chicane. Both cars were fired off into the gravel and out of the race with the Safety Car being deployed to allow marshals to retrieve both stricken vehicles. This eroded Cook’s lead and set up a spectacular end to the day.

There were changes aplenty behind as Plato’s VW, Jordan’s MG and the Mercedes of Morgan tussled in the early stages.

Aron Smith had already blazed a trail from 12th on the grid up to third prior to the incident and was into second shortly after the restart. He immediately reeled in the race-leading Chevrolet of Cook ahead of him which led to a pulsating scrap over the following few tours. The pair touched through the ultra fast Craner Curves and both cars bounced across the grass in dramatic fashion. The wild sliding VW of Smith made it back onto the track right amongst the chasing pack while Cook rejoined behind them. It was an incredible escape for both drivers but the episode left Collard out front.

Neal, who had already clashed with Jordan’s MG at the Old Hairpin, hauled in the WSR car and squeezed his Honda into the lead with just two laps to go. Jordan made it through too and he was eventually sandwiched between two Hondas as Shedden made the last step on the podium after his own stellar drive from 14th on the grid.

Collard claimed fourth ahead of an incredible drive from teenager Aiden Moffat. Not only did the Mercedes youngster make the most of the incidents ahead of him but he also made impressive late moves by previous race leaders Smith and Cook. Despite his dramas, Cook takes the lead in the Jack Sears Trophy table.

Neal leads the standings by two points from Turkington, with Shedden a further five points adrift in third. Honda takes the lead in the manufacturer/constructor standings, while Team BMR head the teams’ table.

The championship now heads to Thruxton in Hampshire on 9/10 May.

Read more at BTCC.net

BTCC: Matt Neal makes it a Honda double at Brands Hatch

Honda’s Matt Neal completed a memorable afternoon and claimed the second victory for the new Civic Type R, following team-mate Gordon Shedden’s thrilling race two win earlier in the day.

The finale got off to a dramatic start when Rob Collard’s BMW was tapped into the gravel at Paddock Hill Bend, whilst a quartet of runners further down the field made contact at Druids. The first safety car of the season was immediately deployed as Josh Cook’s Chevrolet and Warren Scott’s VW were also forced into retirement.

Pole-sitter Rob Austin remained out front in his Exocet AlcoSense Audi but the two-time race winner couldn’t shake off the attentions of Neal and the MG of the impressive Jack Goff. The top three pulled away following the restart as Sam Tordoff’s kept a trail of cars behind him in fourth.

2013 champion Andrew Jordan was busy having his best showing of the day on his MG debut, as he scythed his way by Tom Ingram’s Toyota and Tordoff’s BMW to grab fourth on lap 15. Aron Smith was cutting his own similar ascent through the pack and eventually followed Jordan through and into fifth.

There would be changes aplenty in the top order, however, as race-leader Austin struggled for pace late on. Neal made his move on lap 21, and was immediately followed through by Goff at Paddock, as Austin was unable to withstand the race-long pressure. Jordan was soon upon the Audi too but a mistimed attack on the approach to Clearways led to contact, with both cars scampering across the gravel. Austin recovered and went on to claim fifth while Jordan retired in the pits with a puncture.

Goff kept Neal honest throughout and although they couldn’t match the incredible closeness of the race two finish, the gap across the line of just 0.196s again went to show the ultra competitiveness of the BTCC.

Smith, Tordoff and Austin were next up on the timesheets while Ingram rounded off a solid opening day with a top six result. Adam Morgan’s Mercedes took seventh ahead of the charging Andy Priaulx, who made the most of last corner contact between Dave Newsham’s Chevrolet and Hunter Abbott’s Audi to claim eighth.

Former champions Colin Turkington, Jason Plato and Shedden all endured disappointing results for differing reasons. Turkington spun his VW at Surtees and could only recover to finish 12th while his team-mate Plato had his storm through the field halted by a power steering problem. He was able to finish the race, albeit way down the order, while Shedden’s Honda did not make the final classification after a mid-race pit stop to correct his own mechanical woes.

Read more at BTCC.net

BTCC Brands Hatch FP1: Tom Ingram is fastest

Tom Ingram was the surprise name at the top of the time sheets in the first free practice session of the new season of the BTCC at Brands Hatch this morning.

On a drying track the Speedworks Motorsport driver set a time of 50.665 seconds, more than half a second faster than the next best car, the Honda of Matt Neal
Rookie Josh Cook, runner-up in last year’s Clio Cup, was third frastest ahead of Rob Collard and Dave Newsham.

Reigning champion Colin Turkington could only manage 13th fastest in his first session with Team BMR. All three of his team mates were ahead of him, with Aron Smith seventh, Warren Scott eighth and Jason Plato 11th.

MG pair Jack Goff and Andrew Jordan spent most of the session in the garage, completing just eight laps between them.

The next free practice session is at 12:45pm.
Follow live timing and driver tracker on itv.com/btcc
Qualifying, live on itv.com/btcc at 3.30pm

Read more at ITV Sport

BTCC: New Honda Civic Type R breaks cover

Honda has announced it is to race the new Civic Type R in the 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season.

Scheduled to be officially unveiled at the BTCC media day at Donington on Tuesday 24 March, the new car has been designed and built from the ground up in the Team Dynamics workshops in Pershore, Worcestershire.

Working in close conjunction with Honda UK manufacturing in Swindon, Honda Yuasa Racing started designing the car last September with the build starting in November.

Based on the production version of the new Civic Type R which is due to hit showrooms in July, the race version will develop 350bhp with 400Nm of torque.  By building on the existing road car, which was sourced direct from the Honda UK factory in Swindon, the team has produced a car which has increased down force compared to last year’s Tourer, less drag and a more effective air flow management.

The team has high hopes for 2015 as Barry Plowman, Technical Director at Honda Yuasa Racing, explains: “We cannot wait for the new season to start.  Our car for 2015 is going to win races.  The shape of the new road going Civic Type R has allowed the team to build on the design and take it forward to be a championship winning car.

“2015 is widely being billed as the year Honda is back and we are continuing that in to BTCC. We’ve worked hard over the winter to ensure we have a winning car for 2015.”

The announcement comes as the team recently confirmed an unchanged driver line-up of Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal for the sixth consecutive season.

“This is a car that not just us, but the entire automotive industry has been waiting for,” added Matt Neal. “We are as excited as anybody to start running the Civic Type R, which is a massive step forward from last year’s Tourer – from the engine to the handling and aerodynamics.”

“The Civic Type R is an iconic car,” commented 2012 BTCC Champion Shedden.  “We are champing at the bit to get this distinctive, aggressive looking car out on the track. It’s going to stand out and cause a real stir on the track. Especially when we clean up in the championship!”

Read more at btcc.net

BTCC: Trio of new 2014 winners at Knockhill

The biggest crowd at Knockhill in 15 years witnessed three titanic Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship battles as a trio of drivers took their first wins of the season.

Honda Yuasa Racing’s Matt Neal fended off the attentions of front-row starter Rob Austin and home hero Gordon Shedden to claim the honours in the opening contest.

An action-packed 27 laps of racing included myriad of incidents and overtakes throughout the order, but it was the most experienced driver on the grid who managed to keep out of trouble to win his first race for more than a year and a first in the Honda Civic Tourer model.

Mat Jackson took the 20th BTCC victory of his career and the first in nearly two years with a flawless performance in the next bout. The Airwaves Racing driver made a clean getaway when the Honda duo of Neal and Shedden ran into trouble. Neal was given a drive-through penalty for jumping the start while Shedden dropped to the rear of the field after early contact with Austin.

MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save driver Jason Plato eventually took second ahead of the recovering Austin.

Race three provided the third different winner of the day, which also completed a hat-trick of victories for the Dunlop Sport Maxx soft compound for the first time in BTCC history.

Pole-sitter Nick Foster produced a good start but he was soon under pressure from his eBay Motors team-mate Rob Collard who had made his way from sixth to second in the early stages. Collard eventually edged his way past and never looked back – taking his first victory since 2012 at the same venue – but there was a frantic scramble behind for the final podium positions.

It was to be an emotional rostrum for Dave Newsham and the first ever for his AmDTuning.com team as the Inverness-based driver hauled his Ford Focus into second, defending well from the BMWs of Turkington and Foster.

Turkington’s own podium capped a remarkable turnaround for the Ulsterman after his day had got off to the worst possible start. Contact with a combination of Plato and Jackson forced him into the gravel and out of race one, but the 2009 champion produced a sensational drive in the second encounter.

Starting at the back of the grid Turkington had scythed his way up to fourth by the finish, producing pass after pass in the flying BMW 125i M Sport. He went one better in the final showdown to ensure that he left the Scottish circuit with the same 23-point advantage that he’d arrived with.

Shedden maintains second in the standings whilst Plato closed the gap in the chase for the championship. Collard is up to fourth; ahead of reigning champion Andrew Jordan and race two winner Jackson, although all three can only be considered outsiders for the title.

To demonstrate the quite staggering racing on show at Knockhill, the total of nine podium positions on offer over the course of the weekend were filled by an unprecedented eight different drivers.

Read More on btcc.net

 

BTCC : Plato Produces Lights-toflag Victory

MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save driver Jason Plato has claimed his second BTCC victory of the season after leading the opening race at Snetterton from start-to-finish.

Championship leader Colin Turkington extended his advantage in the standings by taking second ahead of Honda Yuasa Racing’s Matt Neal. Adam Morgan was just over a second away from scoring a maiden podium for the new-for-2014 WIX Racing Mercedes A Class as he closely followed home Neal’s Honda Civic Tourer.

Sam Tordoff’s race day commenced in a rather dramatic and unwanted fashion as the second-row starter suffered with brake failure going into Riches on the opening lap. Contact followed behind as his MG6 slowly rejoined the track, which played its part in a further clash with Dave Newsham’s Ford Focus and the eBay Motors BMW of Nick Foster.

There was one more significant incident before the end of the opening tour when Jack Goff’s VW tagged the MG of Marc Hynes in a battle at the lower end of the top ten. Hynes’ race wouldn’t get any less frenetic as late contact with the Proton of Daniel Welch put paid to the former’s recovery drive through the order, whilst STP Racing’s Welch retired in the pitlane.

Plato and Turkington pulled away at the head of the field as Alain Menu slotted his VW into third during the early running. Meanwhile Neal was busy making his way by the fast-starting Tom Ingram before making relative light work of Menu ahead of him. The three-time champion made his own getaway as a quite bizarre fight for fourth followed him.

Read More on btcc.net