Matt Neal critical of decision to prevent him starting final race

Matt Neal critical of decision to prevent him starting final race

Matt Neal
Photo: Network Images

Matt Neal strongly disagreed with the decision of British Touring Car Championship officials to prevent him starting the final race of the day at Donington Park, claiming there’s ‘no regulation’ that should have prevented him starting.

Having taken the lead from pole-sitter Dave Newsham at the first start, Neal then aquaplaned off the circuit at McLeans on the first lap of the first start, ending up in the gravel trap.

The Honda driver was subsequently helped out of the gravel by the marshals and took up his front-row grid position for the restart, only to be pushed back into the pits and out of the race when officials declared he couldn’t start the race due to having received ‘outside assistance’.

The three-time champion was critical of that decision after the race, telling TouringCars.Net that he should have been allowed to start the race, and claiming that ‘no such regulation’ exists to have prevented his start.

“Do I agree with it? No,” said Neal. “They’ve quoted regulations without stipulating which regulation they are to me. I’ve looked at it, and there’s no regulation.

“If you look at the blue book, if the race stops before the leader has done two laps it’s declared a no contest and all available cars can restart the race. It [should be] as if it’s a no contest.”

“It’s something we’ve got to take up now.”

Neal also criticised the decision to start the wet race as normal, with track conditions deteriorating with heavy rain before the race and no drivers having completed any wet running at all this weekend prior to the start.

“It’s a bit draconian considering they stopped it under safety grounds – they shouldn’t have started it in the first place.

“It was bedlam; it was not even a safety car start. It was horrendous out there – there were people going off on the green flag lap.”

Neal’s non-start was compounded when team-mate Gordon Shedden was subsequently provisionally excluded from the results for failing the ride height check.