Matt Neal and Rob Austin were left exchanging opinions from their frenetic fifth British Touring Car Championship meeting of the season at Croft, the pair tangling in the final race which lit the blue touch paper as both who had strong words about each other afterwards.
Neal endured a rough weekend despite a strong display during races one and two, charging through from the lower end of the top 10 in race one to fifth place before finding his way by Jason Plato‘s MG and the West Surrey Racing BMW 125i of Rob Collard to grab a podium finish in the second race.
However, a sideways moment at the opening corner of race one after contact from the Pirtek Racing Honda Civic of Andrew Jordan compromised his weekend ultimately, lasting damage resulting in a ride height check failure after the second encounter that took away his third place.
Neal commented that the Honda Yuasa Racing Civic Tourer had continued to show great pace during the fifth weekend of the season at North Yorkshire, but that the race one incident and subsequent ride height failure ruined what would have been a good weekend for himself.
“The car had been great in races one and two”, the triple BTCC champion told The Checkered Flag afterwards. “It was just a shame being tagged by Andy in race one.
“That kind of compromised us in that race and had a knock-on effect in race two with the splitter – which meant being thrown to the back for race three.
“The car was fantastic in races one and two. I just couldn’t really use it except in race two where it was great to get on the podium. The car’s fast. We just need a little bit of luck.”
Starting from the back for race three proved a recipe for chaos in a frantic final encounter of the day for much of the grid, Neal surviving a tangle with Glynn Geddie‘s United Autosports Toyota Avensis but not a coming together with Rob Austin at Clervaux that also caught Warren Scott‘s BMR Racing Vauxhall Insignia as an innocent victim.
“Then in race three, it was just crazy. Absolutely crazy”, Neal added, as he pointed to Austin’s part in the incident.
“You’re back there with the people that have been given more boost, so they’re faster than you in a straight line and they just drive into the back of you in a straight line.
“Then you’re with the likes of Rob Austin, who this weekend goes into the race without a straight panel on his car, and I think that he must just think it’s funny. The bloke is an idiot. He ends up costing me my race and obviously Warren Scott’s race.”
Austin meanwhile had his opinion on the incident, the Audi man having also had to fight from the back of the field at Croft after he was spun out at the start of race one at Hawthorn.
Austin also branded Neal’s part in the race three incident ‘disgusting’, and pledged to report the Honda man to the MSA.
“I was really happy with my comeback drive in race one but unfortunately my day has been ruined by a couple of drivers simply wiping me out”, Austin said.
“I’m absolutely gutted, particularly as we clearly had the potential to be right up there pushing for podium results – the pace of the cars when we were running smoothly has been stunning.”
Neal lies seventh in the points heading into the summer break and an almost unassailable 101 points adrift of leader Colin Turkington, Austin down in 14th place in the standings meanwhile.
The next round of the BTCC heads to Snetterton on 2/3 August after a five-week break for the series before the visit to Norfolk.