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Gordon Shedden happy, Matt Neal angry after Snetterton

Honda Racing Team driver Gordon Shedden says he is pleased with his weekend’s results, which saw him move into second in the championship standings. However his team-mate Matt Neal had a disastrous weekend which began when he was tapped at the first corner of the first race – an incident that angered the former champion.

The weekend started on a strong note for the Honda team as both drivers qualified in the top four in qualifying, with only the Chevrolet’s splitting them.

In the opening race Gordon Shedden avoided the chaos at the first corner to slot into third, having lost out to Alex MacDowall at the start. Although unable to challenge the Chevrolet’s in front Shedden was happy to hold on to third. He then followed this up with a win in race two to move into the lead of the championship briefly. This was lost when in race three the Scot could only manage 7th, although he leaves the weekend in an even stronger position in the title race.

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“The championship has been so competitive this season that it is vital that you keep racking up the finishes,” said Shedden. “You can’t afford to drop behind, so coming away from this weekend with 30 points has been perfect. It is a shame that Matt had his problems, because otherwise we could have been first and second in the standings.

“After finishing third in the first race, I thought a victory might be on the cards in race two and I just concentrated on hitting the front as soon as I could. When the chance came at the second corner, I just grabbed it and it was pretty comfortable thereafter. The Civic has an excellent chassis and that meant that even though I had 27kgs of success ballast, I was still able to draw away as I pleased.”

In the first race Neal got a strong start and attempted to pass leader Jason Plato around the outside at Riches. However there was contact between the two rivals and Neal was sent spinning in front of the pack – and was fortunate that on-one hit him. With no safety car interventions in the race it meant that Neal could finish no higher than 18th – where he would have to start for race two.

Explaining the incident, Neal said: “I made a brilliant start from fourth place on the grid and was alongside Jason, who was in the lead, going into the first turn and he just hit my car from behind. I spun across the track at 120mph, which was pretty scary and I am thankful no one else touched me.”

A determined drive from Neal in the second race was thwarted due to a puncture, leaving him to finish again low down the field in 17th. His luck improved in the final race when Neal charged up to finish in fourth. However despite this Neal was still angry with the events of the first race, which saw Plato handed a £500 fine and 3 penalty points on his racing licence.

“I am angry because my chances were spoiled by an avoidable incident in race one which also put me at the back for race two, so that was two big points scoring opportunities gone,” added Neal. “I was happy to get back to fourth in race three but when you consider what we should have been able to achieve here, I am annoyed. Still, there are plenty of races to go and we will work extremely hard to make up the ground we have lost here.”

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