Halfords Yuasa Racing drivers Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden say that improvements in the summer break are vital for Honda, after a disappointing Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Chapionship meeting at Croft.
On a weekend where series leader Sam Tordoff bagged 28 points, the Honda pairing could only manage 19 points between them on Sunday in North Yorkshire.
Neal’s 10th place in race two was the best result of the day for the team, slipping 15 points adrift in the standings while team-mate Shedden fell to eighth in the table, now 52 points behind.
The weekend, which included a qualifying incident, was one Neal himself said he would rather forget, saying: “It’s been a tough weekend and one I won’t be sorry to see the back of!
“We knew the rear wheel-drive cars would have an advantage at Croft, but we thought we would still be somewhere in or around the top six and that obviously wasn’t the case. In the circumstances, we got pretty much the maximum we could out of the car.”
“Believe me, we won’t be rolling over by any means!” – Matt Neal
“On the positive side, both cars came back in one piece when quite a few didn’t and we can now go away and regroup over the summer break.”
Shedden meanwhile endured his worst weekend of the season, collecting just four points and a best result of 13th all weekend. The Scot gambled on slick tyres for the damp finale, one which did not pay off as he finished 22nd.
Honda’s Croft Weekend To Forget:
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“We’ve not been on the pace all weekend which was certainly a surprise, because the Civic Type R is a very good package and was strong round here last year”, commented Shedden. “Yes, Croft is traditionally a rear wheel-drive circuit, but other front wheel-drive cars did ok so I don’t subscribe to that excuse.
“In race three, knowing we couldn’t compete on outright pace, we decided to roll the dice because from where we were starting, we had nothing to lose.”
While struggling to get to the bottom line of their struggles in North Yorkshire, the reigning champion added that the summer break will provide that opportunity to make gains.
“The bottom line is we weren’t good enough and there are clearly some elements missing that we need to put our finger on, but we have a decent break now that we will use to reassess, figure everything out and come up with an action plan for the second half of the season.”
Both Honda drivers pointed out a deficit in straight-line performance compared to their rivals at Oulton Park, the team working tirelessly on development of their new engine in 2016.
Neal admitted that this may have affected the team’s tyre degradation at Croft, adding: “I drove my heart out and race two was quite enjoyable; because we were struggling for straight-line speed, I had to work the tyres quite hard and that halted our progress in the closing stages.
“Believe me, we won’t be rolling over by any means!”