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 Champion, Plato Wins Race 2

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.

CLASSIFIED: 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   NOT CLASSIFIED/RETIREMENTS: 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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Eaves Wins as Neal Closes on Title
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Collard Wins Race 3 at Brands

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