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Matt Neal win closes title fight

Matt Neal has taken victory in damp conditions in the opening British Touring Car Championship race of the day at Brands Hatch, closing the gap to points leader Gordon Shedden, who finished in fifth.

Click here for the full Round 28 Results.

With conditions at the Kent circuit damp and under light rain, several drivers opted to approach the race with caution. At the start Tom Onslow-Cole led away from pole position, with Neal moving up into second thanks to a strong start. Andrew Jordan, who had started second, dropped to fourth as Rob Collard got a customary strong start in the rear-wheel drive BMW.

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On the third lap of the race Neal made a move on Onslow-Cole into Paddock Hill bend and despite the eBay Motors driver fighting back Neal held on, remaining in front for the remainder of the race. On the same lap Jordan also made it past Onslow-Cole for second, and the trio remained in the same order for the rest of the race, with Jordan taking victory in the Independents category and moving one step closer to the Independents title.

Árón Smith was a strong fourth, although the Irishman had a tough race including battles with Jason Plato and Dave Newsham. The youngster made a superb pass on Shedden into Paddock Hill on lap 11 to continue his strong finish to the season. Shedden himself finished in fifth to slightly extend his lead in the championship.

Rob Collard and Dave Newsham finished sixth and seventh – the duo crossed the line seperated by just 0.019 seconds after spending much of the latter stages of the race battling with each other.

MG’s Plato could only manage eighth, despite starting from fifth on the grid. The former double champion was clearly struggling with his car and ballast in the conditions and he lost three points to Shedden in the battle for the championship, although he remains in second, two points ahead of Neal.

Will Bratt was an impressive eighth for Rob Austin Racing, who are re-entered under the ‘’ banner for this weekend. Jeff Smith completed the top ten in his Pirtek Motorsport Honda.

Aaron Williamson finished in 14th on his début in the BTCC, with the Team HARD driver losing ground to his more experienced rivals after having started from an impressive eighth on the grid.

Mat Jackson had been in ninth when he suffered from mechanical problems and retired from the race on lap 14. Frank Wrathall also failed to finish the race after spinning into the gravel at the final corner on the final lap.

The penultimate BTCC race of the season takes place at 13:57 BST.

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