BTCC: Neal makes amends with Race Three victory
MATT Neal finally got his moment after a difficult day as he won the third Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race of the day at Brands Hatch.
The Team Honda Racing driver was looking to make amends after he landed pole for the final round in the draw for the reversed grid.
Having started the first race from pole he was taken out at the second corner and forced to start Race Two at the back, so it was almost fitting that he get a second chance to shine in the final race.
And he made it look easy, as he led from the green light all the way to the chequered flag, only briefly coming under some pressure from the Team Airwaves Focus of Mat Jackson who finished second.
After today's earlier races, Race Three was relatively incident free. Drama at the start came from James Nash's 888 Racing Vectra taking a sideswipe from Jackson as they bit the throttle.
Nash ran across onto the grass and regrouped out of the top ten, but up at the front Neal was making the most of his turbocharged Civic as he tried to pull away from Andrew Jordon who was running second.
Jackson was running fourth until he made a move on Paul O'Neill on Lap Five to steal third, and Jason Plato who was running fifth also took a peek up the inside of the Tech-Speed Cruze but was unable to make anything stick.
With the top five running close, disaster struck again for Jordan who suffered his second front-left puncture of the day and limped back to the pits.
This gave Jackson a chance to try and catch Neal, while behind Plato was getting a hard time from Neal's team-mate Gordon 'Flash' Shedden who was on another one of his charges.
By Lap 16 Plato was the locomotive at the front of a four-car train as Sheddon climbed all over the back of him. The Scot made the move up the inside at Graham Hill Bend a lap later and despite an attempt to claw it back, there was nothing Plato could do.
Shedden eventually crossed the line fourth with Plato able to cling on to fifth, with a recovered Nash sixth.
BTCC Brands Hatch Race Three Result:
1. Matt Neal, Honda Racing Team Honda Civic 19min 50.198secs
2. Mat Jackson, Airwaves Racing Ford Focus +0.189secs
3. Paul O'Neill, GoMobileUK.com with Tech-Speed Chevrolet Cruze +3.813secs
4. Gordon Shedden, Honda Racing Team Honda Civic +6.602secs
5. Jason Plato, Silverline Chevrolet Chevrolet Cruze +7.150secs
6. James Nash, 888 Racing with Collins Contractors Vauxhall Vectra +7.323secs
7. Robert Collard, West Surrey Racing BMW 320si +7.928secs
8. Tom Chilton, Team Aon 'Global' Ford Focus +8.307secs
9. Alex MacDowall, Silverline Chevrolet Chevrolet Cruze +8.910secs
10. Tony Gilham, 888 Racing with Collins Contractors Vauxhall Vectra +11.764secs
11. Tom Boardman, Special Tuning Racing SEAT Leon +13.663secs
12. Dave Newsham, Geoff Steel Racing BMW 320si +14.026secs
13. Tom Onslow Cole, AmD Milltek Racing Volkswagen Golf +25.806secs
14. Jeff Smith Pirtek, Racing Vauxhall Vectra +25.910secs
15. Nick Foster, West Surrey Racing BMW 320si +26.427secs
16. Andy Neate, Team Aon 'Global' Ford Focus +26.996secs
17. John George, GoMobileUK.com with Tech-Speed Chevrolet Cruze +33.353secs
18. Liam Griffin, Airwaves Racing Ford Focus +33.589secs
19. Chris James, Team ES Racing.com Chevrolet Lacetti +1 lap
20. Andrew Jordan, Pirtek Racing Vauxhall Vectra +1 lap
21. Tony Hughes, Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis +1 lap