BTCC: Matt Neal is round 4 winner at Brands Hatch

BTCC: Matt Neal is round 4 winner at Brands Hatch

Matt Neal won the fourth round of the British Touring Car Championship after a very strong performance in the early laps of the race. The Honda Civic Type-R driver converted fourth on the grid to second place and soon passed the SEAT Toledo of...

Matt Neal won the fourth round of the British Touring Car Championship after a very strong performance in the early laps of the race. The Honda Civic Type-R driver converted fourth on the grid to second place and soon passed the SEAT Toledo of early leader Robert Huff. He remained under pressure for the rest of the race but was never seriously challenged and crossed the line to win by under half a second.

Matt Neal pushes Colin Turkington.
Photo by Mark Gledhill.
Neal made a great start from third place on the grid and moved to the outside of the track to pull alongside the pole position MG SZ of Colin Turkington. The Honda had the greater momentum and neatly passed the MG on the outside of Paddock Hill Bend before moving across to defend the position. Turkington did not give up and tried to tuck inside Turkington on the approach to Druids but Neal moved across even further and put Turkington on the grass. Huff and Neal took advantage of this scrap to move up to first and second respectively.

The safety car was then deployed due to an accident at the start. Jason Plato, team-mate to Robert Huff, got nudged into a spin on the pit straight by Justin Keen's BMW and, as cars swerved to avoid the spinning SEAT Toledo, Tony George and Michael Bentwood had big accidents and heavily damaged the fronts of their cars. George spun round backwards and parked against the armco whereas Bentwood, who had got relegated to the back from the front row after his car failed to start on the warm-up lap, crawled onto the grass to retire.

After six laps behind the safety car the race restarted and Huff kept the lead but Neal was glued to the back of the SEAT Toledo. Behind them Team Honda's Tom Chilton tried to go past Vauxhall driver Luke Hines on the inside but was aggressively blocked as the pair weaved left and right on the approach to Druids. On the next lap Neal dived inside Huff at Paddock Hill Bend and took the lead. Huff held on to the back of the Honda Civic and stayed within half a second.

There was a big scrap between Chilton and Turkington on lap 19 for fourth place. Chilton tried to push his way down the inside of Paddock Hill Bend but Turkington aggressively defended his position. Chilton held on and tried to pull on the inside on the approach to Druids but Turkington swerved to his right to block Chilton. Brake smoke poured from both cars as they inevitably touched and Turkington was nudged sideways at the Druids hairpin.

Chilton followed the back of Thompson for several laps and forced Thompson to defend the position several times. Chilton clearly had the quicker car but was unable to get track position to make a passing attempt. He waited until the final corner of the final lap and then attacked Thompson. The result was a third place for Chilton and right-rear damage to the bodywork of Thompson's car as the Vauxhall driver limped across the line in fourth.

<pre> Results: 1. Matt Neal Honda Civic Type-R 26m 43.951s 2. Robert Huff SEAT Toledo Cupra +0.365s 3. Tom Chilton Honda Civic Type-R +5.926s 4. James Thompson Vauxhall Astra Coupe +6.236s 5. Yvan Muller Vauxhall Astra Coupe +7.214s 6. Colin Turkington MG ZS +10.090s 7. Shaun Watson-Smith Proton Impian +10.664s 8. Dan Eaves Honda Civic Type-R +11.806s 9. Luke Hines Vauxhall Astra Coupe +13.030s 10. Robert Collard Vauxhall Astra Coupe +13.806s

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About this article
Series BTCC
Drivers Yvan Muller , Tom Chilton , Dan Eaves , James Thompson , Justin Keen , Tony George , Colin Turkington , Matt Neal , Robert Collard , Luke Hines , Michael Bentwood , Shaun Watson-Smith