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Matt Neal wins race three at Brands Hatch to reclaim British Touring Car points lead

Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden on the Brands Hatch podiumMatt Neal has taken the lead of the British Touring Car Championship back by winning the reversed-grid race at Brands Hatch this afternoon.

Having lost the lead in the title race to double Brands winner Jason Plato earlier in the day, Neal made a strong start to race three to outdrag team-mate Gordon Shedden on the run to Paddock.

Neal then took second when Andy Neate's Arena Ford Focus ran wide at Westfield and the Honda completed a strong first lap by passing polesitter Nick Foster (WSR BMW) on the start-finish straight.

Shedden followed Neal through and, as Foster gradually fell back through the field, Neate became the Hondas' closest challenger. But he could not match the pace of the Civics, which drove away into a race of their own.

Such was their advantage that Neal allowed Shedden into the lead at Surtees on lap 12 of 15, so he could score a point for leading a lap, before Shedden returned the favour at the same place next time round.

Neate started to come under pressure from James Nash (Triple Eight Vauxhall Vectra) as the race wore on, and eventually had a huge moment at Sheene, which lasted all the way to the exit of Stirling's.

While Nash, Tom Chilton (Arena Focus) and Mat Jackson (Motorbase Focus) made it by the recovering Ford, Tom Boardman (Special Tuning Racing SEAT) arrived at the wrong moment and had to go onto the grass to avoid a collision.

That allowed Plato through to finish sixth. He struggled to make ground initially from 10th on the grid, but had good pace in the second half of the race. The Chevrolet driver will now travel to the Silverstone finale with a chance of stopping a Honda driver taking the crown.

Tom Onslow-Cole completed his fine weekend for Arena with seventh, ahead of Andrew Jordan's Eurotech Vectra, which had started on row eight.

The unfortunate Boardman recovered to ninth, while Foster completed the points scorers after team-mate Rob Collard retired in the Clark Curve gravel trap.

Results - 15 laps:

Pos  Driver           Team/Car                 Time/Gap
 1.  Matt Neal        Honda                  23m35.856s
 2.  Gordon Shedden   Honda                    + 0.186s
 3.  James Nash       Triple 8 Vauxhall        + 4.033s
 4.  Tom Chilton      Arena Ford               + 4.291s
 5.  Mat Jackson      Motorbase Ford          + 11.720s
 6.  Jason Plato      Chevrolet               + 13.555s
 7.  Tom Onslow-Cole  Arena Ford              + 14.820s
 8.  Andrew Jordan    Eurotech Vauxhall       + 17.414s
 9.  Tom Boardman     Special Tuning SEAT     + 19.750s
10.  Nick Foster      WSR BMW                 + 20.129s
11.  Daniel Welch     Welch Proton            + 20.354s
12.  Dave Newsham     Special Tuning SEAT     + 22.451s
13.  Michael Caine    Motorbase Ford          + 23.994s
14.  Rob Austin       Rob Austin Audi         + 24.297s
15.  Jeff Smith       Eurotech Vauxhall       + 25.142s
16.  Liam Griffin     Motorbase Ford          + 28.820s
17.  Martin Byford    AmD Volkswagen          + 29.897s
18.  Ollie Jackson    Triple 8 Vauxhall       + 30.29 s
19.  Chris James      ES Chevrolet            + 54.697s
20.  Chris Swanwick   Rob Austin Audi         + 55.246s
21.  John George      Tech-Speed Chevrolet  + 1m20.699s
22.  Tony Hughes      Speedworks Toyota     + 1m21.468s


     Andy Neate       Arena Ford                13 laps
     Rob Collard      WSR BMW                   12 laps
     Lea Wood         Central Honda             11 laps
     Paul O'Neill     Tech-Speed Chevrolet       9 laps
     Alex MacDowall   Chevrolet                  5 laps
     Frank Wrathall   Dynojet Toyota             3 laps
     Tony Gilham      Geoff Steel BMW             1 lap
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