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Neal heads Honda Racing 1-2 at Brands Hatch

Sunday, March 31 2013

Matt Neal claimed the third Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship win at Brands Hatch today (Sunday), leading a Honda Racing 1-2 with reigning champion Gordon Shedden. The weekend ended with MG newcomer Sam Tordoff scoring his maiden podium finish.

With the vast majority of the runners now on the option tyre, Mat Jackson lined up on pole position with two cars behind that had played their jokers earlier on. However both Adam Morgan and Tordoff were unable to pass the Ford as Colin Turkington took another trip across the gravel.

Neal took advantage at the start to follow behind Jackson onto lap two but chaos reigned as Dave Newsham spun out of Paddock Hill at the second time of asking and made heavy contact with Rob Austin. Inevitably the race was neutralised as recovery work was carried out, and Jackson led Neal, Morgan, Jason Plato, Andrew Jordan and Tordoff.

At the restart Jackson slowed at Druids, handing the lead to Neal, with Morgan and Plato behind. Jordan also took the Ford, which continued but was losing places fast, first to Tordoff, then Jeff Smith, Frank Wrathall and Shedden. The Scotsman also despatched with Smith on his ascent up the field, keen to make amends for his race two exclusion.

As Shedden closed on Tordoff, the MG driver's sights were on Jordan, himself looking for a way past Plato. Tordoff passed Jordan to provide a buffer for his team mate, and a few laps later Shedden also demoted the Pirtek car, before passing Plato, both moves completed at Paddock Hill.

With places being shuffled behind, Morgan was able to concentrate on the gap to Neal, who was starting to struggle with his soft tyres. But Tordoff was also quick and before long was harassing the Toyota with two laps to go. Then a move on the inside of Clearways unintentially benefitted Shedden when he passed both! Tordoff was nevertheless ahead Morgan but a Honda Racing 1-2 was now on the cards.

Sure enough Shedden protected the place and Neal finished a tough weekend for the team with a win. Tordoff made the podium on his first weekend for MG, with Morgan taking a well-earned fourth place from Plato, Jordan, Smith and Wrathall.

Meanwhile Turkington completed a third top ten finish, with Jackson holding on in tenth place. Liam Griffin took the S2000 category honours after Lea Wood was excluded post-race.

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship Race 3

1, Matt Neal, Honda Yuasa Racing, Honda Civic, 27 Laps
2, Gordon Shedden, Honda Yuasa Racing, Honda Civic, +0.083s
3, Sam Tordoff, MG KX Momentum Racing, MG6, +1.216s
4, Adam Morgan, Ciceley Racing, Toyota Avensis, +2.171s
5, Jason Plato, MG KX Momentum Racing, MG6, +3.651s
6, Andrew Jordan, Pirtek Racing, Honda Civic, +4.727s
7, Jeff Smith, Pirtek Racing, Honda Civic, +6.026s
8, Frank Wrathall, Dynojet, Toyota Avensis, +6.430s
9, Colin Turkington, eBay Motors, BMW 125i M Sport, +9.508s
10, Mat Jackson, Airwaves Racing, Ford Focus, +10.133s 

Next week Brands Hatch hosts the opening round of the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship. Tickets are available from £26, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.