Neal Champion, Plato Wins Race 2

Team Halfords' Matt Neal sealed the British Touring Car Championship crown with a race to spare after finishing third in today's second of three races on the Brands Hatch grand prix circuit

Neal was assured of the title on the seventh lap when title rival Yvan Muller brought his Vauxhall into the pit-lane with a puncture after a clash on the straight while battling for third with Neal.

"It's going to take a while to sink in," said Neal. "Yvan has been a tough rival, but to get the title with a race to spare is what we wanted."

The race was won by SEAT's Jason Plato, who capitalised on a mistake from race one winner Dan Eaves to take the lead at Hawthorns on lap eight, and was thereafter never headed. Eaves dropped back into the clutches of Neal, allowing a formation Halfords finish by way of celebration.

Gareth Howell completed the top four in the third Integra after a busy race, claiming the position from the second SEAT of James Pickford after a misjudged move into Graham Hill Bend which spun Pickford.

Gavin Smith, enjoying his most competitive weekend for Vauxhall, took third after losing ground early in the race while himself battling with Pickford.

WSR MG driver Rob Collard claimed the vital tenth place, earning pole position for the third race of the day. However, he came close to dropping to 11th after spinning at Graham Hill Bend after being hit by Fiona Leggate's bio-ethanol Vauxhall in the closing stages. Independent Jason Hughes made it an all-MG front-row for race three after claiming ninth place behind the SEAT of Luke Hines and James Kaye's Honda.


Pos  Driver            Car                          Time
 1.  Jason Plato       SEAT Toledo Cupra            22:07.148 
 2.  Dan Eaves         Honda Integra                +   1.690  
 3.  Matt Neal         Honda Integra                +   2.114  
 4.  Gareth Howell     Honda Integra                +   9.938  
 5.  Gavin Smith       Vauxhall Astra Sport Hatch   +  11.488  
 6.  James Pickford    SEAT Toledo Cupra            +  12.201  
 7.  James Kaye        Honda Civic Type-R           +  16.273  
 8.  Luke Hines        SEAT Toledo Cupra            +  41.269  
 9.  Jason Hughes      MG ZS                        +  44.212  
10.  Rob Collard       MG ZS                        +  44.367  
11.  Andy Neate        Vauxhall Astra Coupe         +  52.396  
12.  Yvan Muller       Vauxhall Astra Sport Hatch   +1:00.531  
13.  Ian Curley        Lexus IS200                  +   1 Lap  


     Driver            Car                          On Lap
     Fiona Leggate     Vauxhall Astra Coupe           12
     Richard Williams  Lexus IS200                     7
     Colin Turkington  Vauxhall Astra Sport Hatch      1
     Mark Proctor      Vauxhall Astra Coupe            1
Fastest Lap: Gareth Howell, 1:33.454 on lap 4
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