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Matt Neal: “The fire still burns, so bring it on!”

Wednesday, March 27 2013

Triple Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Champion Matt Neal heads into this weekend's (30/31 March) opening round at Brands Hatch eager to keep the opposition behind.

Since rejoining family outfit Team Dynamics under the Honda Racing banner in 2010, Neal has finished second, first and second in the title race. With a dominant car, does this mean that he'll continue the sequence this year with a record-equalling fourth championship?

"I hope so but the regulations mean no one should ever really get a jump on anyone," he warns. "What I do know is that we had a great car last year and both the team and engine guys at Neil Brown Engineering have worked as hard if not harder than any other outfit over the winter to try and keep us up the sharp end."

Engines were the subject of much discussion and controversy last season, with championship organisers TOCA able to set turbo boost levels to keep the field close together. Naturally having the fastest car meant that Honda were unlikely to be on the receiving end of good news, at least from their perspective.

However early reports from the Pirtek team suggested that a more harmonious ambience would prevail. Matt's not so sure this will be the case, however: "We did until we were given the boost levels just two weeks before the first race, this story is not going away and going to be another issue this year by looks of it."

The answer is likely to be found as the cars head along the Brabham straight for their first flying race laps on Sunday. One thing is for sure and that is the close competition between Matt and team mate Gordon Shedden, now a champion in his own right. If they're both out front, it will be difficult to choose between them, something Matt agrees with: "With the closeness of racing an element of luck always helps so it could go either way but I will be pushing hard."

Matt picked up two wins at Brands Hatch last year, at both ends of the season, adding to an already formidable tally at the venue. He's certainly still up for the challenge after all these years too: "The fire still burns brightly inside me yes, so bring it on!"

Tickets for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch on 30/31 March are available from £26 with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.