Matt Neal gives NGTC Honda first win in Brands Hatch race two
|By Kevin Turner||Sunday, April 1st 2012, 14:04 GMT|
Reigning British Touring Car champion Matt Neal gave the new NGTC Honda Civic its first victory in the second race at Brands Hatch.
Polesitter and race one winner Rob Collard held the lead at the start in his WSR BMW and had a 1.3-second advantage at the end of the first lap, but was soon closed down.
Tom Onslow-Cole initially ran third in his WSR BMW, but he had jumped the start. Before he served his drivethrough penalty he was overtaken at Druids by Jason Plato's MG.
Once free, Plato joined Neal in pressuring Collard. At the end of lap five, Neal attacked at Clearways to take the lead, and Plato followed down the start/finish straight.
Nick Foster then rolled his WSR BMW and brought out the safety car.
At the restart the two champions fought hard for the lead. With the help of a little contact at Clearways, Plato took the lead at the end of lap 17, but Neal soon responded.
With some rubbing of his own, which slightly damaged the rear of Plato's car, he dived back past the MG6 at Clearways on the following lap.
Thereafter Plato, who had earlier set the race's fastest lap, gradually dropped back and was eventually caught by Andrew Jordan's Eurotech Civic. Jordan dived by Plato at Paddock with four laps to go and closed on Neal, but could not usurp the works machine.
Behind the top three, Mat Jackson's Motorbase Ford Focus held off Rob Austin's Audi for fourth, after Gordon Shedden's Honda retired to the pits.
Collard eventually came home sixth, just ahead of Jeff Smith's Eurotech Civic.
Ollie Jackson brought AmD Milltek's VW Golf home a fine eighth, helped by a penalty for Lea Wood's Vauxhall Vectra for not respecting the track limits.
Dave Newsham (ES Racing Vectra), who started near the back and had to pit early in the race, snatched ninth by passing Onslow-Cole and Dan Welch (Proton) on the final lap.
Results - 27 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Matt Neal Dynamics Honda 24m52.965s 2. Andrew Jordan Eurotech Honda + 0.360s 3. Jason Plato Triple 8 MG + 1.720s 4. Mat Jackson Motorbase Ford + 3.516s 5. Rob Austin Austin Audi + 3.973s 6. Rob Collard WSR BMW + 7.865s 7. Jeff Smith Eurotech Honda + 8.561s 8. Ollie Jackson AmD Volkswagen + 14.521s 9. Dave Newsham ES Vauxhall + 16.334s 10. Tom Onslow-Cole WSR BMW + 16.417s 11. Daniel Welch Welch Proton + 16.493s 12. Liam Griffin Motorbase Ford + 17.351s 13. Tony Gilham Gilham Honda + 19.962s 14. Andy Neate Triple 8 MG + 24.261s 15. Lea Wood Wood Vauxhall + 32.658s 16. Tony Hughes Speedworks Toyota + 44.404s 17. John Thorne Thorney Vauxhall + 47.446s Did not finish: Gordon Shedden Dynamics Honda 13 laps Nick Foster WSR BMW 6 laps Chris James ES Vauxhall 6 laps Aron Smith Motorbase Ford 3 laps