Neal maintains hot form at Oulton

Independent star Matt Neal maintained his pre-season form when he topped the times in the second official BTCC test of the season at Oulton Park, fractions of a second ahead of Ford's Alain Menu and Honda's James Thompson

Neal maintains hot form at Oulton

"I'm made up, chuffed to bits," said Neal after setting his time, "particularly as we lost two hours running when the engine failed this morning."

However Neal, who won the second round of last years' series in fairytale style, refused to be drawn on his prospects this year. "It's early days yet, and it's so close."

Menu's time confirmed Ford's upturn in form for 2000, and both his team-mates, Anthony Reid and Rickard Rydell had been near the top of the timesheets for much of the day, but did not manage to fit in late-session new-tyre runs.

Thompson was also bang on the pace with Gabriele Tarquini in the JAS Motorsport-run Accord not far adrift in fourth place. Honda's third car was driven by Peter Kox, filling in for Tom Kristensen who is in America to compete in the Sebring 12 Hours.

Vauxhall fielded just two cars for Yvan Muller and Jason Plato, but both had a troubled day - Plato even giving his newly-acquired pilot's licence some use as he flew back to base for parts.

"I felt like James Bond on a mission," he joked.

James Kaye became the first competitive driver to test a Class B car in an official session.

The former works Honda BTCC racer's brand new Barwell Motorsport Honda Accord ran well, but it is now becoming clear that around a circuit like Oulton Park the Class B cars will be around 10 seconds off the pace of the Super Touring cars contesting the main championship.































































Pos


Driver


Car


Time


1


M Neal


Nissan


1.22.764


2


A Menu


Ford


1.22.777


3


J Thompson


Honda


1.22.789


4


G Tarquini


Honda


1.23.043


5


R Rydell


Ford


1.23.173


6


A Reid


Ford


1.23.297


7


Y Muller


Vauxhall


1.23.392


8


P Kox


Honda


1.23.628


9


J Plato


Vauxhall


1.23.796


10


J Kaye


Honda


1.34.076


11


D Pitcher


Honda


1.40.430

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