Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden took a win each during the fifth round of the 2012 British Touring Car Championship at Croft, with Neal moving to the head of the Championship.
Reigning Champion Neal took his first Pole Position of the season, being the only driver to break below the 1m25 barrier. He backed up his first Pole Position of the season into his fourth victory of 2012.
He slipped down the order off the line but fought back to hold off Rob Collard for the victory; the result moved the #1 Honda Yuasa Racing team driver to the head of the standings.
He backed up his race one win with a second place finish in race two, despite a brake and misfire issue, while from ninth on the grid in the reverse grid race, Neal was able to fight his way up to fourth, a result which enabled him to take the lead of the Championship once again heading into the seven week summer break.
“The weekend has been great,” said Neal. “I didn’t expect pole and it was great to convert race one. Race two I was a little bit of a walking wounded. In race three the car felt great and I think we could have finished on the podium, but it was chaos out there.
Shedden arrived in North Yorkshire leading the Championship and laden with 45kgs on board the #52 Civic, the Scotsman ended qualifying third fastest.
A great start to the first race enabled Shedden to take the lead but having gone the wrong way on the set up and ended third.
A tweak to the set up and carrying 18kgs less success ballast, the Scotsman was able to take his sixth win of the season and the eighth on the bounce for the Honda Yuasa Racing Team.
Shedden lined up tenth for the final race and he finished sixth after the race featured two safety car periods. As a result, Shedden heads into the summer break one point behind Neal in the Championship.
“The car has been good, we’ve battled hard and we’ve made the best of what we can,” he said.
“It’s going to be a tough seven weeks [until the next round], we’re going to have to improve because everyone is going faster and faster. If we don’t improve, we’ll go backwards.
“Matt went with a different theory on set-up in race one. I had the option of it and didn’t go with it and his hooked up a bit better.”
Heading into the seven week break before the sixth round at Snetterton in August, the team leads the way in the Manufacturers and HiQ Teams’ Championship and Neal concluded by saying: “Two wins is great for the team and we increased our lead in the teams’ and manufacturers’ championships. It’s great to go into the break with a bit of bragging rights.”