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Mixed fortunes at Donington for Honda

There were mixed fortunes for the Honda Racing Team’s two drivers at Donington Park – whilst Matt Neal took a win and closed in on the championship lead, Gordon Shedden suffered an exclusion and accident damage which blighted his weekend.

The event started on a perfect note for the Honda Racing Team as Neal and Shedden took the Team Dynamics-run outfit to a front row lockout in qualifying – the first all-Honda front row since Silverstone in 2005.

Neal followed up his pole position with a win in the first race of the day. It wasn’t completely plain sailing however, as Neal got off to a slow start and dropped to second behind James Nash in his 888 Vauxhall. Going into Redgate on the second lap Neal retook the lead and held on for his second win of the season.

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Gordon Shedden had initially finished in third to make it two Honda drivers on the podium. However he was later stripped of this result when his Civic was found to have exceeded its turbo boost pressure of 1.8 bar. The technical infringement also meant that he would have to start the second race from the back of the grid – still carrying the 27kg of ballast that he had aquired for his initial podium finish.

In the second race of the day Neal was able to finish in third whilst carrying maximum success ballast. Shedden valiantly fought up to 6th position from 23rd on the grid, ultimately earning him a front-row grid position in second for the final race. However Shedden’s race three was to prove short and he was forced to retire with damage to his Civic after just 8 laps of running. Neal, who had to start from 7th for the final race, was fighting with an ill-handling car in race three and eventually finished 7th.

“We were pushing hard all weekend and we‘ve got the results,” said Neal. “This championship is all about being consistent and grabbing the wins when you can and that is what we have done. I was roughed up a bit in the third race of the weekend but I’ve collected 32 points over the weekend, which is good. We’ve worked on the set-up of the car as well, and we’re starting to understand what makes it tick, so I’m leaving Donington Park with plenty of optimism.”

Shedden was less pleased with his weekend, having demonstrated that he has the pace to be at the front but not the luck.

“I just can’t buy any luck at the moment,” admitted Shedden. “I’ve been in the wrong place at the wrong time and had the worst of it, but I’m convinced we can start scoring big points from the next round onwards. We just need things to go our way.”

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