Scoring his third podium in five races, Matt Neal continued the upward trajectory of the new shape Honda Civic Type R by taking second place in the second race at Oulton Park in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
Starting with thirty-three kilogrammes for the weekend, the Halfords Yuasa Racing driver qualified a competitive fifth for the first race on Sunday.
Fifth was to remain a constant in race one as this is where the Honda veteran finished to score more valuable points for himself and the team.
Starting again from fifth in race two, this was where the experience really counted as a gutsy drive to third place showcased the strengths of his car. Then a move on the Ford Focus RS of Tom Chilton promoted Matt to second, a position he held until the flag. Another podium finish for an improving car.
Race three wasn’t to show the same success as an incident at Druids saw Matt drop a number of places to ultimately finish the last race in fourteenth.
With another strong weekend out of the way, Matt now sits in sixth position in the drivers championship only twenty-six points off the top.
Matt remarked, “Not a bad weekend for us. Maybe no cigar this time. We weren’t too sure how we were going to go. I think it was promising with the car and I was just unlucky in the last race, otherwise I think we could have had three fairly solid top six finishes.
“We would have been right up there in the championship. It means we’re going to be a bit lighter going into Croft and given how close it is this year everything can change in a meeting as Colin (Turkington) has shown. Where you qualify really dictates your weekend and your fortunes.
“Being lighter will help us in qualifying because it is so close. There’s a long way to go yet – we’re not even half way.”