Matt Neal says “it's all to play for”.
Gordon Shedden promises that both he and Neal will be going “flat out” for wins as both fight to take the British Touring Car title in this weekend's finale at Brands Hatch.
Both are involved in the series' first ever four-way title decider – Neal 17 points behind leader Jason Plato, with Scot Shedden four points further behind. The Honda Racing Team have already sealed the manufacturer's title on the marque's works return to the championship, so relieved of collective responsibility the drivers are free to race for the title.
Neal, is in by far the better position. Not only does he have the points advantage over Shedden but he has been part of title showdowns before – and has two BTCC title to his name to prove it.
However, Shedden, who has five race wins to his name this season so far, claims his inexperience shouldn't be an obstacle.
“Although I haven't been in this position before I feel very relaxed about it and I know that it is down to my performances on the day,” he says. “I know that I need to win at least one of the races to be in with a chance of the title, so that will be my initial aim. After that, it depends on what happens to the others. The Civic is going to be one of the fastest cars at Brands Hatch but the racing there is always so close that it is going to be very hard to call. I am not going to give up on the title until it is mathematically impossible. All the time there is a chance, I will be giving it full throttle to keep the dream alive.”
Neal too is sure the Honda Civic will be well suited to the 1.9 mile track; “the Civic has really good handling and that is exactly what I am going to need at Brands Hatch,” he says. “It is a tight and twisty circuit where the cars always stay close together and everyone's going to be looking for the smallest edge. The Civic will be the perfect car in those conditions, and the rest is up to me. I will be giving it everything.”
“There is no pressure on me this weekend because I am going to do my usual job,” Neal claims. “I am going out there to win the races, and the rest of it can take care of itself. It is a good position to be in; I would rather be the hunter than the hunted.”