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Thruxton BTCC: Matt Neal takes 50th BTCC victory

Neal claims 50th BTCC victoryMatt Neal took his 50th British Touring Car race victory after a dramatic final lap at Thruxton.

The works Honda driver was briefly relegated to fourth on the first lap, before contact between Jason Plato's MG and Gordon Shedden allowed him into second.

Shedden had overtaken poleman Andrew Jordan at the start and Plato tried the outside line for Campbell to give him the inside for Cobb to overtake Jordan.

That looked like being successful, but such was Plato's speed he nudged the rear of Shedden's Civic. The reigning champion held it, but then swept across the track, causing more contact with Plato that took the Civic off.

Jordan thus retook the lead, chased by Neal and Plato. Only Neal could stay with the Eurotech Honda as Plato started to fall back.

The lead gap hovered around a second and Jordan looked in control - and set to take the championship lead - until a front-left tyre blow-out sent him off on the final lap, relegating him to 11th.

Neal was left to take an easy win, while Plato held off a charging Tom Onslow-Cole to secure second.

Onslow-Cole ran fifth in the early stages before passing Sam Tordoff's MG at the chicane just before half-distance. The Team Hard VW Passat then closed on Plato, but could not find a way by the double champion.

Tordoff took fourth from Eurotech's Jeff Smith. After qualifying sixth, Smith fell to 10th on the opening lap but recovered to complete the top five.

A fast-starting Colin Turkington finished sixth in the lead WSR BMW, holding off a feisty Mat Jackson. The Motorbase Ford driver looked much more competitive in the race than qualifying, passing several cars on his way to seventh from 13th on the grid.

The S2000 class once again proved hard-fought. Joe Girling's Chevrolet Cruze led initially before being overtaken by Lea Wood's Vauxhall Vectra and the AmD VW Golf of James Kaye.

Girling then went off, Kaye overtook Wood, only for the VW to hit technical trouble, and Liam Griffin moved to the front in his Motorbase Ford Focus.

Griffin then kept the NGTC Audi of Rob Austin between himself and Wood for much of the race to secure Jack Sears Trophy honours.

Results - 16 laps:

Pos Driver              Car                  Time/Gap  
 1. Matt Neal           Honda                21m14.471s
 2. Jason Plato         MG                   + 6.663s  
 3. Tom Onslow-Cole     Hard VW              + 7.522s  
 4. Sam Tordoff         MG                   + 9.579s  
 5. Jeff Smith          Eurotech Honda       + 10.205s  
 6. Colin Turkington    WSR BMW              + 14.803s  
 7. Mat Jackson         Motorbase Ford       + 15.454s  
 8. Dave Newsham        Speedworks Toyota    + 15.899s  
 9. Aron Smith          Motorbase Ford       + 16.104s 
10. Adam Morgan         Ciceley Toyota       + 16.735s 
11. Andrew Jordan       Eurotech Honda       + 19.579s 
12. Jack Goff           Hard Vauxhall        + 24.298s 
13. Rob Collard         WSR BMW              + 25.696s 
14. Daniel Welch        Welch Proton         + 30.506s 
15. Frank Wrathall      Dynojet Toyota       + 31.230s 
16. Ollie Jackson       Speedworks Toyota    + 34.999s 
17. James Cole          Hard Vauxhall        + 49.959s 
18. Will Bratt          Austin Audi          + 50.617s 
19. Rob Austin          Austin Audi          + 53.876s 
20. Liam Griffin        Motorbase Ford       + 54.676s 
21. Lea Wood            Wood Vauxhall        + 55.845s 
22. David Nye           Motorbase Ford       + 1m01.177s 
23. Joe Girling         Finesse Chevrolet    + 1m01.911s 
24. Nick Foster         WSR BMW              + 1m06.255s 
25. Gordon Shedden      Honda                + 1m20.151s


   Warren Scott      BMR SEAT                2 laps    
   James Kaye        AmD VW                  8 laps

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