BTCC Thruxton: Neal converts pole into race one victory

Matt Neal converted pole position into victory in the opening British Touring Car Championship race at Thruxton, taking the first victory for the new shape Team Dynamics Honda Civic Type R

BTCC Thruxton: Neal converts pole into race one victory

Neal had set a record-breaking pole position lap on Saturday, and continued that form into the 16-lap race. He fended off a strong early challenge from Colin Turkington (WSR BMW 125i M Sport) as the pair raced side-by-side into the Complex on the opening lap.

Neal had the inside line for Campbell corner and held first place. The gap between the pair ebbed and flowed but was rarely more than one second. In the end, Neal crossed the line 0.8s ahead of his rival to take his 62nd career win.

"That one was for [the late motorsport journalist and commentator] Henry Hope-Frost," said Neal.

"What a great result for the new car too. I was sitting in front waiting for the tyres to go off because Colin was right on me, but it never happened. I had the best start I have had for a couple of years and was able to fend off Colin, which was important.

"Our car is very strong in the quick corners out the back of the circuit, and because I was ahead, I was able to stretch my legs a bit."

Turkington said that although he had been defeated, he was pleased to get points on the board after scoring only six during the three races at the previous meeting at Donington Park.

"That is a great start to the day - this championship is all about consistency. I had the pace to stay with Matt early on, but the rear tyres went off after about three-quarters distance, so I just backed it off a little bit."

Turkington also set a new lap record in his efforts to rein in Neal, with a 1m17.243s tour to lower the oldest record in the championship, previously a 1m17.303s set by Yvan Muller set in the Vauxhall Astra Coupe back in 2002.

Neal's team-mate Dan Cammish took third place after jumping fellow second-row starter Brett Smith (Eurotech Honda) off the line as his rival bogged down when the lights went out.

Sam Tordoff (Motorbase Ford Focus) overtook an unwell Andrew Jordan (WSR BMW 125i M Sport) after four laps to take fourth spot, and Tom Chilton (Motorbase Ford) usurped the BMW just after half distance too.

The main casualty of the event was points leader Tom Ingram. He pitted in his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis after only five racing laps. He had maintained his starting position in the top 10, but an electrical problem forced him to park up.

Race one result

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 Matt Neal Team Dynamics Honda 20m54.608s
2 Colin Turkington WSR BMW 0.860s
3 Dan Cammish Team Dynamics Honda 3.699s
4 Sam Tordoff Motorbase Ford 4.040s
5 Tom Chilton Motorbase Ford 5.290s
6 Andrew Jordan WSR BMW 8.922s
7 Senna Proctor Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall 9.361s
8 Brett Smith Eurotech Racing Honda 9.725s
9 Josh Cook Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall 14.929s
10 Chris Smiley BTC Norlin Honda 15.436s
11 Rob Collard WSR BMW 15.591s
12 Matt Simpson Eurotech Racing Honda 16.260s
13 Jack Goff Eurotech Racing Honda 16.780s
14 Adam Morgan Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes 17.787s
15 Ash Sutton Team BMR Subaru 18.096s
16 Rob Austin HMS Racing Alfa Romeo 18.526s
17 Tom Oliphant Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes 19.922s
18 Aiden Moffat Laser Tools Racing Mercedes 21.773s
19 James Cole Motorbase Ford 23.602s
20 Jake Hill Team Hard Volkswagen 24.888s
21 Mike Bushell Team Hard Volkswagen 26.893s
22 Josh Price Team BMR Subaru 27.155s
23 James Nash BTC Norlin Honda 27.766s
24 Rory Butcher AmD Tuning MG 28.022s
25 Ollie Jackson AmD Tuning Audi 30.185s
26 Bobby Thompson Team Hard Volkswagen 38.299s
27 Stephen Jelley Team Parker Racing BMW 38.648s
28 Sam Smelt AmD Tuning Audi 38.965s
- Jason Plato Team BMR Subaru Retirement
- Tom Boardman AmD Tuning MG Retirement
- Michael Caine Team Hard Volkswagen Retirement
- Tom Ingram Speedworks Toyota Retirement


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BTCC Thruxton: Neal beats Turkington to pole with new record

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Series BTCC
Drivers Matt Neal
Teams BTC Racing
Author Matt James
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