Neal wins Snetterton Diamond Double

by Bethonie Waring

Matt Neal was victorious in the British Touring Car Championship Diamond Double race at Snetterton.

The Honda driver snatched the race lead after Jack Goff ran wide during a brief rain shower. Goff and Tom Ingram spent the remainder of the race on the back of Neal’s Honda but neither risked their race to attempt an overtake.

Ingram looked as if he might make a move on Goff in the closing stages of the race, but opted to stay behind the Eurotech driver to take his second podium of the weekend and reclaim the lead of the drivers’ championship by six points.

The race was neutralised after just a handful of laps when Brett Smith and Tom Olliphant came together. Olliphant was spinning in the slippery conditions and collected the Eurotech driver as Smith tried to avoid him. Both cars were left stranded at the side of the track.

Ashley Sutton, who had already taken a pit stop after the opening lap, returned to the pits during the safety car to take a 30 second stop go penalty. The penalty dropped him to the back of the field, where he spent the remainder of the race.

Adam Morgan managed to take Tom Chilton and Dan Cammish for fifth on the restart, but both drivers fought back, with the trio running side by side. Morgan managed to hold onto the position, but a wide moment for him and Cammish dropped the duo down the order, promoting Chilton to fifth.

Cammish later span again and dropped down to P22, before Morgan had an off and hit the barriers after making contact with Josh Cook. He managed to nurse his Mercedes back to the pits where he retired.

After challenging Ingram for third off the line, Andrew Jordan spent most of the race running alone in fourth. Chilton managed to close the gap to the BMW in the second half of the extended 20 lap race and was pushing to find a way through in the closing stages, but Jordan defended well to take fourth.

The main battle in the second half of the race came courtesy of Chris Smiley, who was running sixth at the time. The BTC Norlin driver had a six car train on his tail, with Cook closest. Colin Turkington moved into seventh after the Cook-Morgan incident and spent a number of laps frantically trying to find his way past Smiley.

Smiley defended well, holding onto sixth while Cook, Turkington and Senna Proctor battled behind him, but the Honda’s race came undone when Proctor attempted a move as Smiley locked up. The pair came together and both span, with Smiley running over the grass and Proctor dropping to 12th.

Turkington, released from behind Smiley, spent the remainder of the race focusing on keeping Cook behind him, finishing 19 seconds behind Chilton in fifth.

Cook took eighth, ahead of Matt Simpson and Dan Lloyd.

After a tough battle in the closing stages of the race, Proctor, Bobby Thompson and Ollie Jackson were in a drag race to the line, taking the chequered flag three abreast. Proctor just pipped Thompson and Jackson to P10, with Thompson 0.033s behind and Jackson a further 0.032s back.

Rob Austin, Cammish, and Jason Plato, who was caught up in an incident with Aiden Moffat off the line, completed the points paying positions.

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