Matt Neal wins opening BTCC race at Croft

Matt Neal continued Honda's domination of the British Touring Car Championship by taking the spoils in the opening race of the weekend at Croft on Sunday

Matt Neal wins opening BTCC race at Croft

The champion had to battle ahead of the fast-starting Andrew Jordan (Eurotech Honda) and the fellow factory Honda of Gordon Shedden to assert himself at the head of the pack on lap 12.

Rob Collard's WSR BMW shadowed Neal up the order and ran in the wheel tracks of the Civic, finishing just under half a second behind.

"I could see Collard following me and I knew I had to push on," said Neal. "I had a chat with the team on the radio and they said I should go for it. After all, we are all in this championship as individuals as well as a team."

Shedden dropped away from the top two with tyre problems in his fully-ballasted Civic but managed to hang on to his third place position after 18 laps.

Behind Jordan, Rob Austin equalled his best finish of the season on his return to action in the rear-wheel drive RAR Audi A4 by taking fifth place. He earned that by battling ahead of Andy Neate's Triple Eight Race Engineering MG6 late on in the race.

Championship challenger Jason Plato in the other MG6, who had qualified sixth, failed to take the start when the electrics failed on his hatchback. He rejoined for a handful of laps in a reworked car but was out of the points-paying positions when the flag fell.

Results - 18 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Matt Neal Honda 28m55.451s 2. Rob Collard WSR BMW + 0.401s 3. Gordon Shedden Honda + 4.923s 4. Andrew Jordan Eurotech Honda + 12.910s 5. Rob Austin Austin Audi + 22.538s 6. Andy Neate MG + 27.387s 7. Tom Onslow-Cole WSR BMW + 30.639s 8. Mat Jackson Motorbase Ford + 30.972s 9. Will Bratt Austin Audi + 37.738s 10. Aron Smith Motorbase Ford + 50.725s 11. Ollie Jackson AmD Volkswagen + 52.965s 12. Tony Gilham Gilham Honda + 54.104s 13. Lea Wood Central Vauxhall + 1m03.042s 14. Liam Griffin Motorbase Ford + 1m04.487s 15. Adam Morgan Speedworks Toyota + 1m09.972s 16. Chris James ES Vauxhall + 1m14.503s 17. Paul O'Neill Speedworks Toyota + 1 lap 18. Nick Foster WSR BMW + 2 laps Retirements: Frank Wrathall Dynojet Toyota 13 laps Jason Plato MG 10 laps Jeff Smith Eurotech Honda 9 laps Daniel Welch Welch Proton 3 laps Dave Newsham ES Vauxhall 0 laps 
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Matt Neal claims his first British Touring Car pole of 2012

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Gordon Shedden retakes British Touring Car Championship lead with Croft race two win

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Series BTCC
Drivers Matt Neal
Teams BTC Racing
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