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Matt Neal wins as Honda take 1-2

Matt Neal reignited his championship challenge by taking victory in the second race at Knockhill – taking him back up to second in the championship just 14 points behind leader Plato. Gordon Shedden finished behind his team-mate in a strong race for Honda, whilst Jason Plato completed the podium with third.

Click here for the full Round 23 Results.

Neal was initially up to second at the start of the race after a good getaway from the line – which was in stark contrast to the second-placed starter of Alex MacDowall who once again got off to a terrible start. On the exit of the first turn there was drama as David Pinkney lost control of his Vauxhall Vectra and speared into the side of Rob Collard, taking both men out of the race. The safety car was called upon and in the next six laps the marshalls cleared the two cars away from danger.

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When racing resumed on lap 8 Neal was immediately pressuring his team-mate in front and on lap 10 he made his move up the inside at the hairpin, cleanly passing Shedden. Withstanding plenty of pressure thereafter, Neal held on to take the win from Shedden, although it was never certain until the flag and it was a five-way battle for the lead in the second half of the race.

Jason Plato bode his time in the early part of the race, running in fifth until passing Tom Chilton on lap 23. With a much faster car and no success ballast, he was immediately on the tail of third placed man Steven Kane and he past him with a small tap into the hairpin on lap 25. With only two laps then to go, Plato was unable to catch the Honda’s in front and he finished third to minimise the damage to his championship lead.

Tom Chilton finished in fourth position, only securing the place when he made contact with Kane at Duffus Dip. The Airwaves BMW driver spun out and did a full 360 degree spin on the track, catching the passing Paul O’Neill in the process. O’Neill himself then spun and a trip through the gravel meant he could only rejoin in tenth. Kane himself was able to continue with relatively little cost to finish in fifth.

Mat Jackson finished in sixth, having spent the race at a distance from the leading quintet of cars. Tom Onslow-Cole once again finished in seventh meaning that he loses out in the championship standings, dropping him to 4th. However he will start race three from pole position after World Champion WRC co-driver Robert Reid selected him for the final race reverse grid.

Andrew Jordan, still suffering from a weekend illness, took eighth position whilst Alex MacDowall came ninth. His earlier poor start meant the he lost five places on the opening lap alone, and he was unable to make up the lost ground during the race.

Paul O’Neill took the final point for tenth after his earlier spin with Kane.

A difficult day for Triple Eight means that neither driver has scored a point yet, although James Nash came close with 11th. Jeff Smith,44, in his second BTCC race, finished in 16th as he learns the ropes of touring cars.

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