Neal: ‘My luck went south with the swallows’
Honda’s Matt Neal says that his luck ‘went south with the swallows’ after he endured a difficult final meeting of the season, finishing inside the top ten in only the first race of the day.
Neal, who entered the final meeting of the season second in the championship, was the first of the title rivals to suffer misfortune when a qualifying crash put him on the back foot and meant he would start the first race from 16th. Neal admitted that he was still feeling stiff after his shunt on Saturday.
“I’ve been very sore down my back and neck today,” said Neal to TouringCars.Net. “I think my luck went south when the swallows did so it is what it is.”
A strong drive in the opening race saw him finish in sixth, but his challenge ended in the second race with suspension damage incurred in an incident with new champion Andrew Jordan.
“In the second race I was behind Andy [Jordan], the car was feeling really strong, and then Árón turned Rob Collard around and Andy had to jink left to avoid a head-on with Rob and clashed with me,” said Neal. “That bent all of the suspension so I was walking wounded from then until the last lap when the turbo let rip, so then that caused the fire.
“That led on to the third race, and they managed to get the car going which was amazing. But then I couldn’t get any window wipers, so I had to do the whole race with no window wipers.”
Despite missing out on the chance to secure a fourth title, Neal was full of praise for Jordan and his Eurotech Racing team who secured the overall driver’s title at the wheel of a Team Dynamics-built Honda.
“It’s fantastic, absolutely fantastic that Andy and Mike have done it,” added Neal. “I say that both because they are a partnership, a close-knit team the same that we are at our end, and they’re in the Honda which is great as well.
“I said to them both ‘no-one can ever take that away from you now’. They’ve worked hard. He hasn’t got a silver spoon in the mouth – they’re not a big rich family that have bought their way in – they’ve worked hard at putting the sponsorship together and they’ve worked hard with us putting an engineering package together which can get them competitive.
“Good on them! They’ve got the ultimate result which is absolutely fantastic.”
Neal added that the team have already got a deal in place for 2014 – and that he will try his hardest to not incur an injury for the fourth year in a row.
“I’m coming back next year,” added Neal. “We’ve got a deal for next year which is great. We’ve got a new car on the way and we’re coming back leaner, meaner, harder and faster and I’ll try not to break anything for the latter half of next year.”