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Matt Neal rues ‘horrible mistake’ at Oulton

Matt Neal has apologised to team-mate Gordon Shedden after the incident that cost them both in the second race at Oulton Park on Sunday. In the second race of the day the Honda Racing Team looked to be heading towards a 1-2 finish when, on the final corner of the final lap, Neal made a late lunge for the lead. Following contact, Shedden dropped to sixth and Neal out of the race.

“I am annoyed with myself for letting it happen,” said Neal. “I am sorry for Flash that I crashed into him. I was looking down the inside and it was wetter on the track than I thought. I locked up the brakes and went into him. I am sorry for him and for the team because we would have had a one-two finish.”

Despite the crash however Neal remains the championship leader. In the first race he opted to start on wet tyres on all four wheels – a decision that meant as the track dried out Neal dropped further down the order – eventually finishing in 8th. Then there was the race two incident – which also meant that Neal would have to start from 18th for the final race. Despite this handicap a strong drive meant he went on to finish fourth.

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“Every cloud has a silver lining,” added Neal. “It was hard to find a positive after race two but when the car was free of success ballast it was really hooked up in race three. We have been working so hard on the chassis and the engine and everything trying to make it faster and it showed it’s been worth it today. I hold my hands up and even though I did my best to drop the ball in race two we are still in the in the fight, which is great as we are getting to the halfway stage of the season.”

If it wasn’t for the incident in the second race Shedden could well have made it two wins out of two, having earlier won the first race convincingly. On a slippery track the Scot opted to put on a combination of slick and wet rubber, allowing him to build up enough of a lead early on to take victory.

“It was raining on and off, and in those conditions you need a great chassis,” said Shedden. “The fact we were able to run at the front in both races proves that we have been working on all the right areas when it comes to traction and grip.

“After winning race one we were determined to get the most out of race two that we could. It was unfortunate that we made contact but these things happen in racing,” added Shedden. “The best way to respond was to get back on to the podium in the third race and that was what we did.”

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