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BTCC NEWS 

Matt Neal wins Oulton Park British Touring Car race one as Jason Plato hits early problem

Matt Neal leads at HondaReigning champion Matt Neal won the first British Touring Car race at Oulton Park on Sunday afternoon.

The Honda Civic driver's job was made easier before the start when poleman Jason Plato's works MG6 was pushed off the grid with a problem on its front-right corner.

Despite inheriting the top spot, Neal was beaten off the line by Rob Collard's rear-wheel-drive WSR BMW. But once the Civic was up to speed, Neal applied great pressure to Collard.

The Honda took the lead with a fine move at Lodge on lap four and pulled away as Collard defended from Andrew Jordan (Eurotech Civic) and the second BMW of Tom Onslow-Cole.

Jordan also made his way by Collard at Lodge, but as Onslow-Cole tried to move forward to attack his team-mate, he spun at Cascades and brought out the safety car.

Neal lost his two-second lead and Jordan stayed close after the restart, but the works car remained ahead to take victory by 0.2s.

Collard held on to third, with Gordon Shedden a little further back in fourth with his works Honda. That was nevertheless enough for Shedden to take the lead in the points race, just ahead of Neal.

Having started from row five, Mat Jackson made early progress in Motorbase's Ford Focus and was rewarded with fifth, with Dan Welch's Proton a competitive sixth.

Seventh eventually fell to Andy Neate, although he appeared to gain places when the MG, Aron Smith's Focus and the BMW of Nick Foster all missed out the Knickerbrook chicane during their battle.

Adam Morgan (Speedworks Toyota Avensis) had charged from row eight to eighth, but made a mistake at the Island hairpin on the final lap. As he tried to rejoin the racing line, there was contact with Foster that spun the Toyota off the track.

All the drama, which also included several cars pitting with overheating after off-track moments, allowed Will Bratt (Rob Austin Audi) to take eighth on his BTCC debut.

Results - 17 laps:

Pos  Driver           Team/Car             Time/Gap
 1.  Matt Neal        Honda              26m25.203s
 2.  Andrew Jordan    Eurotech Honda       + 0.242s
 3.  Rob Collard      WSR BMW              + 2.609s
 4.  Gordon Shedden   Honda                + 7.104s
 5.  Mat Jackson      Motorbase Ford       + 9.341s
 6.  Daniel Welch     Welch Proton         + 9.832s
 7.  Andy Neate       MG                  + 12.556s
 8.  Will Bratt       Austin Audi         + 17.044s
 9.  Nick Foster      WSR BMW             + 18.054s
10.  Lea Wood         Central Vauxhall    + 19.615s
11.  Ollie Jackson    AmD Volkswagen      + 28.242s
12.  Frank Wrathall   Dynojet Toyota      + 50.773s
13.  Tony Hughes      Speedworks Toyota   + 59.738s

Retirements:

    Adam Morgan      Speedworks Toyota     16 laps
    Chris James      ES Vauxhall           16 laps
    Aron Smith       Motorbase Ford        14 laps
    Tom Onslow-Cole  WSR BMW               14 laps
    Liam Griffin     Motorbase Ford         9 laps
    Dave Newsham     ES Vauxhall            7 laps
    Jeff Smith       Eurotech Honda         7 laps
    Tony Gilham      Gilham Honda           5 laps
    Jason Plato      MG                     5 laps
British GP competition
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