Matt Neal reprimanded for Rob Collard Croft BTCC qualifying clash

Matt Neal has been reprimanded and received penalty points for colliding with Rob Collard in British Touring Car Championship qualifying at Croft

Matt Neal reprimanded for Rob Collard Croft BTCC qualifying clash

Collard had just exited the pits while Neal was on a flying lap when the pair came together at Hawthorn, damaging both cars to such an extent that they were forced out of the session on the spot.

Having held sixth and eighth prior to the collision, the pair would end up down in 16th and 17th once qualifying drew to a close, with Collard arguing the incident could have been avoided.

"When I came out of the pits I could see Matt coming with his headlights on, so I went through Clervaux and then kept left going through Hawthorn to leave him room as best I could without going out onto the marbles on cold tyres," the West Surrey Racing driver said.

"There was plenty of space and the next thing I knew, he hit the side of my car and that was that.

"I'm gutted for the whole team as I feel we had a car good enough for the top six and that was where we were before the incident.

"After Jeff Smith ran into me in race one at Oulton Park and then this, someone needs to just give me a break."

Neal admitted that the incident had been unfortunate, but was keen to stress that his Honda Civic Type-R would not have been much higher on the grid as team-mate Gordon Shedden was only three places further forward.

"Rob thought he had given me enough room but when I tried to use the space he had left me, we touched," he said.

"It was one of those incidents where sometimes we would have exchanged a bit of paint and carried on, but the sideways contact broke a wheel and turned me into him.

"Without that, we'd have probably been a few rows higher but I don't think we would have been much further forwards. The speed traps tell their own story."

The stewards gave Neal an official reprimand and two penalty points on his licence.

Collard was also moved up the grid to 13th after a laptime originally deleted for track limits infringements was reinstated.

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