Matt Neal's Honda tops BTCC test day at Donington

Triple champion Matt Neal topped the times at Donington Park on the British Touring Car Championship's official pre-season test day

Matt Neal's Honda tops BTCC test day at Donington

Three time champion Matt Neal topped the times at Donington Park on the British Touring Car Championship's official pre-season test day.

The Team Dynamics Honda Civic Type R racer left it until the last moments of the four-hour session to post a best laptime of 1m10.140s.

Neal, who claimed the title in 2005, 2006 and 2011, said: "That [laptime] is a good boost - we were languishing just a few minutes before the end and I would rather be at the top than where we were with about 10 minutes to go!

"We had been working hard all day on getting to grips with the new control parts from RML and we have made a lot of progress.

"On that last run I did, with new tyres, the car felt the best it has all through testing so far.

"It certainly gives is a lot of optimism heading to Brands Hatch on two weeks' time."

Rookie Ash Sutton was second. The Triple Eight Racing MG6 driver clocked a 1m10.231s, ahead of the Toyota Avensis-mounted pairing of Rob Austin (Handy Motorsport) in third and Tom Ingram (Speedworks Motorsport) in fourth.

Reigning Renault Clio Cup champion Sutton completed 57 laps and said there was more speed to come as he familiarised himself with the two-litre turbocharged machine.

"I set the time when I was going through a new tyre run," said Sutton.

"I was learning how to get the most from the rubber and I was happy with the time, but I know that there is more to come from me in terms of the driving.

"We have laid down a strong marker for the year ahead."

Josh Cook was fifth in his Triple Eight Racing MG, ahead of the Eurotech Racing Honda Civic Type R pair of Martin Depper and Jeff Smith.

Twenty-six of the 32 entries for the 2016 season conducted laps during the session.

New recruit Kelvin Fletcher (Power Maxed Racing Chevrolet Cruze) had to miss the running due to work commitments, while Jason Plato, Colin Turkington, James Cole and Warren Scott all missed out while the finishing touches were put on their new Subaru Levorgs.

Team Hard's Michael Epps was unable to take part as the team did not have an engine ready.


TIMES

1 Matt Neal, Team Dynamics Honda Civic Type R, 1m10.140s

2 Ash Sutton, Triple Eight Racing MG6, 1m10.231s

3 Rob Austin, Handy Motorsport Toyota Avensis, 1m10.297s

4 Tom Ingram Speedworks Motorsport, Toyota Avensis, 1m10.312s

5 Josh Cook, Triple Eight Racing MG6, 1m10.338s

6 Martin Depper, Eurotech Racing Honda Civic Type R, 1m10.442s

7 Jeff Smith, Eurotech Racing Honda Civic Type R, 1m10.443s

8 Adam Morgan, Ciceley Racing Mercedes-Benz A-Class, 1m10.453s

9 Mat Jackson, Motorbase Performance Ford Focus, 1m10.556s

10 Sam Tordoff, WSR BMW 125i M Sport, 1m10.557s

11 Aron Smith, Team BKR VW CC, 1m10.622s

12 Rob Collard, WSR BMW 125i M Sport, 1m10.672s

13 Aiden Moffat, Ciceley Racing Mercedes-Benz A-Class, 1m10.766s

14 Jake Hill, Team Hard Toyota Avensis, 1m10.803s

15 Ollie Jackson, AmD Tuning.com Audi S3 saloon, 1m10.905s

16 Gordon Shedden, Team Dynamics Honda Civic Type R, 1m10.940s

17 Andrew Jordan, Motorbase Performance Ford Focus, 1m10.992s

18 Jack Goff, WSR BMW 125i M Sport, 1m11.191s

19 Matt Simpson, Speedworks Motorsport Honda Civic Type R, 1m11.236s

20 Chris Smiley, Team Hard Toyota Avensis, 1m11.482s

21 Alex Martin, Team Parker Racing Ford Focus, 1m11.538s

22 Dan Welch, Welch Motorsport Proton Persona, 1m12.414s

23 Andy Neate, Team Dynamics Honda Civic Type R, 1m12.667s

24 Mark Howard, Team BKR VW CC, 1m13.719s

25 Hunter Abbott, Power Maxed Racing Chevrolet Cruze, 1m17.374s

* Stewart Lines (Maximum Motorsport Ford Focus - no transponder)

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