Matt Neal Leads Honda 1-2-3 In Thruxton Qualifying

Matt Neal headed a front row lock-out for Halfords Yuasa Racing in qualifying for the seventh race of the 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season at Thruxton.

The triple BTCC champion secured his first pole position on a Saturday since 2012, heading team-mate Gordon Shedden as Honda secured a sweep of the top three spots on the grid for race one in Hampshire.

Neal’s decisive effort of 1m16.040s also dipped under the existing lap record at Thruxton, the Civic Type-R being the machine to have as Shedden joined his team-mate on the front row of the grid – a mere 0.035s adrift.

Jack Goff will start third for Eurotech Racing, his team-mate Jeff Smith causing a five-minute dash for position after an off at Allard which saw the session red-flagged.

Best of the rest was championship leader Tom Ingram, who produced his quickest laps of the day during the important qualifying session in his Toyota Avensis despite maximum ballast.

Rob Austin was a solid sixth place in another Avensis ahead of Smith, with the Mercedes of Adam Morgan next up ahead of Ashley Sutton in the Team BMR Subaru Levorg.

Tom Chilton’s Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall would have rounded out the top eight, but his lap was later removed.

Colin Turkington was top BMW driver in ninth, the Ford Focus of Mat Jackson rounding out the top 10.

Turkington’s team-mates Andrew Jordan and Rob Collard struggled down in 16th and 18th meanwhile, while Subaru’s Jason Plato will start outside the top 20 in 21st place.

Josh Cook and Aron Taylor-Smith both had moments in the closing minutes of the session, the former meeting the barriers as a result of his off.

Photo: BTCC Media