Matt Neal used tyre advantage to scythe his way to the front of the field in the reverse grid race at Silverstone, passing Power Maxed Racing supersub Rob Huff for victory late in the race.
Neal kept his head down, taking advantage of the squabbling upper midfield battle to pick his way past rivals, many of whom were using the harder option tyre. The Dynamics Honda driver had identified Copse as the main strength of the medium-shod cars, and used the extra traction to great effect, pulling alongside Huff exiting the first corner in the latter stages of the race, setting up a pass down the inside of Becketts.
Polesitter Dave Newsham had spun his wheels off the line, allowing Huff to take the race lead before the first turn of the race. Adam Morgan and Tom Ingram were initially promoted to third and fourth respectively when Gordon Shedden and Rob Austin came to blows exiting Copse, with Austin punted wide.
Before the race could settle down, the safety car was deployed for a multi-car shunt on the second lap. Josh Cook triggered the pile-up when he turned around Jason Plato at the exit of Luffield, collecting Stephen Jelley and Ollie Jackson in the process.
Jelley’s spinning focus left Colin Turkington with nowhere to go, the BMW piling into Jelley’s slowing car and sending the championship contender a lap down.
The race resumed after a long six lap safety car delay, after which Ingram immediately moved ahead of Newsham at Copse. Morgan followed suit two laps later, elbowing his way down the inside of Luffield, running side by side with the Chevrolet Cruze through to Copse, where the position was eventually his.
Shedden was struggling after his contact with Austin at the start, capitulating fifth to Neal just before the halfway point. He was then turned around at speed by Austin entering Maggotts shortly afterwards, skating across the grass and lucky enough to avoid clattering into anyone when spearing across the apex of Becketts.
Huff’s robust defence of his lead sent Ingram backwards, as the Speedworks driver was edged onto the grass exiting Copse before an overenthusiastic lunge on the inside of the 2012 world champion allowed Morgan into second. He then found himself swamped by both Neal and Newsham and down to fifth place.
With Neal making his way past Morgan on his way to passing Huff for victory, the Ciceley Motorsport fell into the clutches of the recovering Newsham late in the race, and Ingram capitalised on the lost momentum to recover fourth place.
Behind the intense podium battle, Chris Smiley took advantage of his ballast free Chevrolet, coupled to the punchy TOCA-Swinding engine, to make his way up to seventh place, ahead of Andrew Jordan who had cheekily nudged Mike Epps out of the way for position midway through the race.
Ashley Sutton was the only title contender to score points, recovering to 11th after starting from the very last row of the grid after a penalty accrued from the previous race.
|1||Matt Neal||Halfords Yuasa Racing||M||28:15.455|
|2||Rob Huff||Power Maxed Racing||M||+0.728s|
|3||Dave Newsham||BTC Norlin Racing||+0.997s|
|4||Tom Ingram||Speedworks Motorsport||+1.434s|
|5||Rob Austin||Handy Motorsport||+1.865s|
|6||Adam Morgan||Ciceley Motorsport||+3.006s|
|7||Chris Smiley||BTC Norlin Racing||+3.626s|
|8||Andrew Jordan||BMW Pirtek Racing||M||+3.761s|
|9||Jack Goff||Eurotech Racing||+5.568s|
|10||Mat Jackson||Motorbase Performance||+6.457s|
|11||Ashley Sutton||Adrian Flux Subaru Racing||M||+6.727s|
|12||Michael Epps||Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing||+8.454s|
|14||Aiden Moffat||Laser Tools Racing||+10.546|
|15||James Cole||Adrian Flux Subaru Racing||M||+10.913|