Matt Neal hailed a “fantastic” Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship weekend for Halfords Yuasa Racing at Knockhill after clinching a hard-fought third win of his 2016 season.
The visit to Scotland leaves Neal just nine points adrift of West Surrey Racing‘s Sam Tordoff, the triple champion adding a third win of the season in a classic second encounter alongside results of eighth and fifth.
“I don’t know what to say”, Neal said during a fighting weekend in Fife. “I thought we’d have a chance one minute then I thought we’d have absolutely no chance.
“We came to Knockhill anticipating a tough weekend with the weight that we were carrying and its reputation as a rear-wheel drive circuit, so to leave with a win and still sitting second in the championship is fantastic.”
Both Neal and Honda team-mate Gordon Shedden finished eighth and ninth respectively on the harder Dunlop tyre compound in Sunday’s first race, a result that the former said played its part in his race two triumph.
“Both of us took the pain on the hard tyres in the first race, but I really enjoyed race two”, said Neal, who surged through the field on the softer tyre to win the second race after a lap 25 pass on Jason Plato.
“Being on the soft tyres, I thought we would have a chance from where we were starting and after catching the leaders, I could see that they were starting to struggle a bit. I was able to capitalise on their battle. The Civic was monstrous right the way to the end.
“With 75kg of ballast in the car in race three, I honestly thought a top 10 finish would be a good outcome so I was really pleased to take fifth.”
While Neal moves to within nine points of the series lead, team-mate Shedden sits 40 adrift in fourth spot as the BTCC next heads to Rockingham on 27/28 August.