Matt Neal won a thrilling final Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race at Brands Hatch, fending off a spirited Jack Goff all the way for Honda’s second win of the day.
Neal jumped up to second spot as the lights went out, beating away the Triple Eight MG of Goff to tail pole-sitter Rob Austin‘s Audi A4.
The race was brought under safety car conditions early on, race one winner Rob Collard ending the day in the gravel trap at Paddock Hill Bend after losing the back of the West Surrey Racing BMW heading down the hill.
Josh Cook also pulled off the circuit, while Jason Plato encountered a spinning Stewart Lines and Kieran Gallagher who looped their Toyota Avensis machines at Druids.
The Audi of Austin continued to lead the way following a strong restart, edging away from Neal’s Type-R as Goff attacked the back bumper of the triple BTCC champion.
Neal soon found consistency and began upping the pressure on the leader, and it took until lap 21 for the move to be made into Paddock Hill Bend, Goff’s MG sneaking through into Druids past the A4 also.
Austin’s race then suffered a bigger blow when Andrew Jordan launched his MG6 GT up the inside at McLaren, the pair’s collision giving Jordan a puncture and leaving Austin two places worse off in fifth. Jordan had been on the move prior to the incident, sizing up Sam Tordoff‘s WSR BMW and eventually making the move for fourth stick into Druids on his second bite of the cherry in as many laps on lap 15.
The lead battle continued in the remaining tours of the 27-lap encounter, Goff hunting each way around the Honda of Neal with two laps remaining. The former Clio Cup UK champion could not quite usurp the experienced Neal however, who bagged the team’s second win with the new Civic by just 0.196s.
The pair also share the overall championship lead on 37 points apiece, Aron Smith third overall and just a point behind. Third ironically went to the the flying Irishman, Smith charging through from 12th place to third to be the best BMR Volkswagen ahead of Tordoff and Austin.
Tom Ingram rounded off a fine weekend with sixth place, making it a hat-trick of top-10 finishes for the Speedworks Toyota man, while the top 10 was rounded out by Adam Morgan, Andy Priaulx, Dave Newsham and Hunter Abbott.
Reigning champion Colin Turkington had an off at Surtees and finished 12th, BMR team-mate Plato ending down in 16th spot.
Mike Bushell ended a difficult day in style, narrowly missing out on a top-10 finish as top rookie for AmD Tuning.