Matt Neal has won the second British Touring Car Championship race of the day at Croft, withstanding strong pressure from second-placed finisher Rob Collard to strengthen his championship lead. Neal led every lap of the race and was only troubled briefly by Collard following a mid-race safety car stint. The duo were easily the quickest cars in the race, able to pull clear of third-placed finisher Andrew Jordan by over 17 seconds.
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The race began much drier than the first, meaning that the entire field were able to start on slick tyres. Going into the first turn Collard was in second but had Mat Jackson alongside – resulting in Jackson taking to the inside of the corner to avoid contact. However this was as close as Collard would get to taking the lead, as th Honda of Neal proved difficult to catch, despite carrying the maximum success ballast of 45kg.
Finishing third in the race was Andrew Jordan who had a strong second half of the race. The Pirtek Racing driver started the race in 6th and spent the first half of the race in that position. With just 3 laps to go he passed Jackson for fourth position at Tower bend by being much later on the brakes than the Airwaves driver. Then on the penultimate lap he passed Shedden to take his seventh podium of the season.
There were problems for reigning champion Jason Plato, however. The Chevrolet driver was running in fifth when he slowed down dramatically, before pulling into the pits with a suspected CV-joint failure.
Gordon Shedden took fourth, having spent much of the race battling with Jackson and Plato. Jackson finished in fifth – he lost out to Shedden on lap 9 and was unable to pass the Scot in the second half of the race.
All three of the cars entered by Arena Motorsport finished in the points, with Tom Chilton the first of them across the line in 6th.
Nick Foster had yet another strong race in his debut year to finish in 7th. That results comes despite getting a puncture on the second lap of the race and having to fight his way back from 22nd. Foster will also start the third race from pole position as the top seven finishers are reversed. The WSR driver only took the place at the final corner on the last lap as he got a better exit from the hairpin than Dave Newsham, who had to settle for 8th.
Andy Neate and Tom Onslow-Cole completed the top ten for Team Aon.
There was an early drama for James Nash – who spun his Vauxhall Vectra on the opening lap on the exit of the chicane. He recovered to finish in 11th.
The race’s first retirement came from Liam Griffin on lap 3 after he was sent spearing off into a field at high-speed when he suffered a failure on his front-left wheel. Just one lap later Tom Boardman suffered heavy damage to his front wheels after appearing to collect the tyres at the chicane, calling for a two lap safety car period.
Frank Wrathall was challenging for a first points finish when he was sent into the gravel on lap 10 whilst running in 12th. A tap at the hairpin on the preceeding lap from Alex MacDowall damaged his rear-suspension and approaching the next corner his Toyota snapped to the left and out of the race.
“MacDowall just ran into the back of me at the hairpin,” said Wrathall. “He tried to shove me out of the way. The damage to the rear wheel showed where the contact was and in my view, there was no move to make.”
MacDowall’s race wasn’t much better either. He pulled into the pits on lap 15 with a problem on his Chevrolet Cruze.
Other retirements in the race were Paul O’Neill, who retired on lap 10 after attempting to pass Tom Chilton and spinning in the process, and Jeff Smith, who crashed out of the race towards the end.