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Honda celebrates triple Oulton success

Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden ensured that the Honda Yuasa Racing Team left Oulton Park with victories in all three races and the lead of the drivers’ Championship.

Neal followed on from team-mate Shedden’s dominance at Thruxton last time out by securing a brace of victories while Shedden secured his fifth victory of the season in the second race of the day.

Neal, who narrowly missed out on Pole Position took the lead early in the first race and never looked back, with the Independent Civic of Andrew Jordan the only driver who could stay with the reigning Champion.

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A turbo issue meant that Neal dropped back during the second race but was able to salvage a fifth place finish, which converted into a third row start for the final race of the weekend.

Neal charged to the front in the final race and took his second victory of the day, his third of the season just ahead of his arch rival, Jason Plato in the MG.

Despite the team running the lowest amount of boost on the grid, Neal believes that the results have shown how good the car is.

“We still don’t agree with the rules, but we’ve won eight out of 12 races, which is monumental,” he said.

“The car’s good and we’ve continued to improve it. We had a great test at Pembrey [before Oulton], but we’re going to keep pushing.”

The 2005, 2006 and 2011 Champion also enjoyed defeating Plato in the final race, a result which has extended the teams’ advantage in the Manufacturers and HiQ Teams’ Championship.

“I was trying to get a car between me and Jason, but every time I made a hole he followed!” added Neal. “I had a moment on oil at Lodge, and you only have to give Jason a sniff.

“To have such a strong weekend in the manufacturers’ and teams’ points is very important to us.”

Shedden arrived in Cheshire trailing Plato by four points in the Championship. He secured a fourth place finish in the opening race of the day, a result which moved the Scotsman to the top of the Championship standings.

Once the #52 Civic was changed for the second race, Shedden was able to work his way to the front. He took advantage of Jordan being delayed by Neal to take third, which became first when Rob Collard and Mat Jackson fell over each other exiting Island.

Shedden then led home Jordan for his fifth victory of the season, and he added another fourth place finish in the final race to leave Cheshire five points ahead of Neal in the Championship.

“This was totally unexpected, what with the way the boost levels are,” said a surprised Shedden. “It shows you just how we’ve worked to improve the chassis. We’re still able to get it on the podium.”

The Scotsman isn’t taking anything for granted, with 18 races left to run in the 2012 Championship, he knows that the title is far from won.

“We’ve got to keep racking up points so it’s good to score some here and keep it going,” concluded Shedden.

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