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Matt Neal wins closely fought race three

Matt Neal has won the final race of the day at Brands Hatch, fending off intense pressure from second-placed Steven Kane in the closing laps to take his third victory of the year. Finishing in a well-deserved third position was James Nash with his strongest result of the season.

Click here for the full Round 12 Results.

The reverse grid for the race saw Alex MacDowall selected to start from pole position and the Chevrolet driver led in the early laps. However on lap 4 he pulled out of the race at the Knickerbrook chicane after suffering a driveshaft failure on his Cruze. His stranded car meant that the safety car had to be deployed for the first of two stints whilst it was removed.

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When the racing resumed it was Tom Boardman who was left in the lead, after he started from second position. The local ace led for the majority of the race, withstanding pressure from Nash and Tom Chilton and Neal to hold on. However on lap 14 his luck ran out and Boardman was also forced into retirement with steering damage, having just been passed for the lead by Neal. It is unclear whether Neal’s move on Boardman caused the damage as he retired half a lap after the move.

With Boardman’s retirement it was left to Neal to hold on to the race lead for the remaining laps, withstanding plenty of pressure from the clearly faster Kane. Speaking after the race Neal told of his surprise at how his luck turned out during the weekend. “I thought after today’s first race I was going to leave here back in sixth in the points – it wasn’t such a good race for me and it is so close at the top,” he said. “But we made some changes to the car and it came alive in races two and three.”

Finishing in fourth was Tom Chilton, who had briefly taken the lead on lap 9 only to lose it at the following corner when he lost the back end of the car and slid through the turn. The tankslapper dropped him down to fourth and as a result of Kane’s drive through the field this is where he stayed until the end.

Tom Onslow-Cole followed his team-mate across the line to finish fifth for Team Aon, whilst the other Silverline Chevrolet of Jason Plato had a relatively quiet race and finished in sixth. Mat Jackson took seventh, whilst Rob Collard crept into the points with eighth after starting from 15th. Paul O’Neill scored his first points of a diastrous weekend by finishing in ninth place.

Any Neate had originally finished in the points with tenth but he was later disqualified from the results for an incident that put Andrew Jordan out of the race. Exiting the hairpin the two drivers made contact, with Jordan’s car ending up balanced precariously on the tyre barrier on the inside of the circuit. As a result of Neate’s exclusion, Gordon Shedden took home the final points for tenth.

The BTCC resumes in two weeks time at the Croft circuit near Darlington.

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