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Honda aiming to be ‘best of the rest’

Current championship leader Matt Neal says he is aiming to be the best of the rest around Snetterton this weekend. Despite not attending the recent test session, which saw the LPG-powered car driven by Team Aon’s tom Chilton set the pace, Neal still believes he can extend his 9-point championship lead.

“It’s going to be hard to match the LPG cars because the long, long straights are where they excel so we have got to look to be best of the rest after them,” explained former double champion Neal.

“It’s going to be a tough weekend because Snetterton’s layout always provides rough and tumble. There are some very fast straights followed by tricky corners and it is hard to defend when you are in the lead. But the fast corners on the track play right into my hands because the Civic has a great balance through those kinds of sweepers.”

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As a result of his success in the first half of the season, which has included 3 wins so far, Neal will have to carry 45kg of success ballast as the current championship leader. With his Honda team also having skipped the Snetterton test session, one of only four teams to do so, Neal will need to find the pace quickly on Saturday.

“The 45 kilos will have a big effect on my car during qualifying which will make it tough for me to be at the front of the grid,” added Neal. “Despite all of that, I am confident we can bag three solid results and increase the margin at the top of the table.”

Meanwhile Neal’s team-mate Shedden has echoed his team-mates views on the LPG powered cars, and is instead focussing on securing podium finishes.

“Like Matt, I think the LPG cars will be untouchable at Snetterton and we have got to aim to grab our chances when they come,” said Shedden, who is 3rd in the championship. “We will be strong because of our good chassis but you can never tell. I will have to carry 27kgs in qualifying which could hold me back a bit so I will be concentrating on races two and three to score well.

“The Honda has been quick at Snetterton in the past and there’s no reason why it won’t be again, because we have done lots of work on it over the last 12 months. I am looking forward to it because it has been nearly two months since the last round. This is like starting the championship all over again, and we are feeling confident.”

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