Thruxton BTCC: Neal converts pole into 60th career win

Matt Neal moved to joint second in the list of all-time BTCC winners by taking his 60th career victory at Thruxton in the opening race of the weekend.

Thruxton BTCC: Neal converts pole into 60th career win

Team Dynamics Honda driver Neal, who started from his first pole position for five years, powered clear of his teammate Gordon Shedden, who was carrying the maximum 75kg of success ballast into the meeting, to control the gap to his rival throughout the race.

Shedden had levelled with the sister car going into the Complex on the opening lap, but Neal held his position.

The victory puts Neal equal with four-time champion Andy Rouse in the overall race winners table. Jason Plato heads the way with 95 triumphs.

Neal said: “I hadn’t thought about it being 60. We thought Andy’s figure was unachievable and then Jason did it and now us. It is unreal.

“The car is suited to the circuit – it always has been –  but that means we set ourselves up to be shot down. But to bring the car home first is a great feeling, particularly with Gordon behind me.

"The car was good all the way through, but it means I have full ballast for race two so we are going to have to rethink things.”

Shedden added that he was pleased with his points tally. The Scotsman said: “I had a better start and we were level going in to Turn Two, but he had a lighter car and I knew he would be quicker, so I didn’t do anything silly. I am chuffed we have a 1-2 for Honda though.”

Behind the two factory-blessed Hondas, the Eurotech Racing Civic of Jack Goff took third place. He was forced into a rear-guard action over the closing stages after having been delayed by an errant backmarker in front of him.

Championship leader Tom Ingram (Speedworks Toyota) was in Goff’s mirrors over the last two laps but was only just unable to make a challenge on the last lap.

The Ciceley Racing Mercedes driver Adam Morgan fought ahead of fifth placed qualifier Rob Austin on lap five as the Handy Motorsport Toyota Avensis struggled for grip.

Ash Sutton (Team BMR Subaru) also passed the ailing Toyota, which eventually fell to ninth, on the sixth  lap.

Colin Turkington was the leading WSR BMW, climbing from 10th on the grid to seventh with a superbly optimistic passing move on the battling Austin and Mat Jackson (Motorbase Performance Ford Focus) in lap eight.

Rounding out the top 10 was Rob Collard (WSR BMW), who had started in 18th position.

Matt James

shares
comments
Thruxton BTCC: Neal takes pole as Honda dominates
Previous article

Thruxton BTCC: Neal takes pole as Honda dominates

Next article

Thruxton BTCC: Collard wins race shortened by two big crashes

Thruxton BTCC: Collard wins race shortened by two big crashes
Load comments
Ranking the top 10 BTCC drivers of 2021 Prime

Ranking the top 10 BTCC drivers of 2021

A refresh in equipment and some returning faces helped contribute to a supremely competitive 2021 British Touring Car Championship campaign. Ash Sutton was crowned a three-time champion, successfully defending his 2020 title, but faced stiff competition in the final year before the switch to hybrid. Motorsport.com picks out the best performers.

BTCC
Nov 17, 2021
Why the BTCC's ballast increase couldn't stop champion Sutton Prime

Why the BTCC's ballast increase couldn't stop champion Sutton

Ballast will be gone from the BTCC next year as hybrid power enters the scene, but for its final season the maximum was increased from 60kg to 75kg. Despite having to carry that nearly all season, Ash Sutton was always the favourite to pocket a third title - the 27-year-old getting his reward for a season of speed tempered by savvy to nail his opportunities

BTCC
Nov 12, 2021
The much-loved tin-top superstar bowing out at 59 Prime

The much-loved tin-top superstar bowing out at 59

OPINION: It's not often that a driver achieves widespread affection for their personality, as well as their on-track performances. One such individual is Gabriele Tarquini, who will soon bring the curtain down on a remarkable career that has yielded touring car titles on the European and global stage - and, famously, in Britain too

BTCC
Nov 11, 2021
The making of the BTCC's newest superstar Prime

The making of the BTCC's newest superstar

Ash Sutton is on the verge of being crowned a three-time British Touring Car Champion; he seems to have it all. But life hasn't always been straightforward for this superstar of touring cars, as Marcus Simmons has been finding out

BTCC
Oct 21, 2021
Five key plotlines to follow in the 2021 BTCC Prime

Five key plotlines to follow in the 2021 BTCC

It’s been a busy silly season in the BTCC since the chequered flag fell to end the 2020 campaign last November. While last year’s top two have stayed put, there’s been a lot of fat to chew elsewhere, which should result in another fascinating year of tin-top action.

BTCC
May 7, 2021
Why a BTCC legend remains defiant at '97 not out' Prime

Why a BTCC legend remains defiant at '97 not out'

After a year of enforced absence from the British Touring Car Championship grid, Jason Plato is back and hungrier than ever. Despite stellar opposition and some familiar challenges, the two-time champion still has his eyes focused on the biggest prizes.

BTCC
May 5, 2021
The Top 10 BTCC drivers of 2020 Prime

The Top 10 BTCC drivers of 2020

The 2020 British Touring Car Championship will go down as a classic in which new winners graced the top step of the podium and an unloved chassis was resurrected into a champion. But who were the year's top performers?

BTCC
Dec 24, 2020
The Villeneuve-esque 'engineer's dream' who lit up BTCC 2020 Prime

The Villeneuve-esque 'engineer's dream' who lit up BTCC 2020

The Infiniti Q50 was completely redesigned, redeveloped and revamped by BMR and Laser Tools Racing for 2020. And the flamboyant brilliance of the driver behind the wheel was enough to snatch the title at the last gasp…

BTCC
Dec 11, 2020