Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship front runners Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden are hoping to continue their dominant form when the series blasts back into life at Snetterton this weekend. The Honda Racing duo sit first and third in the drivers' standings respectively at the halfway point of the season.
In the opening fifteen races before the seven week summer break, Neal took five race wins, with Shedden picking up two. Both drivers heading to Donington Park last week to test some revisions to their two-lite turbocharged Civics, changes they hope will keep them ahead of the field in Norfolk.
Neal explains: “Our Civic is one of the best handling cars on the grid, but you can always keep refining things and that is what we did at the test. We were chipping away at the suspension settings trying to find an extra edge. Although there has been a seven-week break in the championship, our team never stands still in the quest to make the Civic even stronger.”
This week has also seen news broken that the turbo cars in the championship, like the Honda's, will be forced to run with a 0.05 bar decrease in maximum boost pressure this weekend. Despite the changes, Neal believes that with the homework done by the team, they should still be out in front.
Neal added: “We have yet again been held back for doing a good job so far this year, which seems unfair. But we can only make sure that we have the handling and the speed to overcome this handicap. I am confident that we will perform.”
'Flash' Gordon meanwhile is looking forward to tackling the Snetterton circuit, while has been totally remodelled since the series visited last seaosn, producing a new three-mile configuration. Shedden believes the new layout will be a challenge for all the drivers, with testing limited at the new track.
Gordon commented: “It is like going to a totally new track. It has new sections that are twisty, but there are still the long straights and they will play into our hands.”
“My prime target is to cut the gap to Matt at the top of the points standings. The championship has been so tight and competitive this season and we have already seen that it can alter dramatically over the course of any given weekend. If I can leave Snetterton having narrowed the gap to Matt and made Honda one-two in the drivers' points, then I will be happy.”