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Honda battles on at Rockingham

The Honda Yuasa Racing Team had a trying event at Rockingham, round 8 of the 2013 British Touring Car Championship, with Matt Neal dropping down to fourth in the Championship standings.

The dramas for Neal allowed Shedden to move up the Championship standings with six races left of the 2013 campaign, at Silverstone and Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit.

“It’s been a good weekend,” Shedden said. “Matt and I have been evenly matched and we’ve scored good points. We tried a lot of things set up wise but nothing quite had the desired effect and we can’t quite put our finger on the reasons why at the moment.

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“It’s going to be difficult, but I’m certainly not giving up the fight to retain this title, and Matt wants it back, so we’ll work hard as a team to get that opportunity,” added the Scottish driver.

Having arrived six points clear at the top of the standings, Neal recorded a 14th place finish in the opening round after a spin behind the Safety car dropped him down the order.

“It was an error on my behalf,” explains the triple Champion. “I got on a bit of oil and it pirouetted on me.”

Worse was to come for Neal as he failed to finish the second race when chasing after a strong result. A broken steering rack saw him go straight on at the Deene hairpin and hit the back of the BMW which had gone off just before him.

This left Neal down on row 12 for the final race of the day and he managed to bring the #2 Honda Civic home 7th overall.

Neals troubles gave team-mate and reigning Champion Gordon ‘Flash’ Shedden a chance to make inroads into the deficit and the Scotsman moved up to second overall after securing a fourth place finish in the opening race, second behind first time winner Rob Austin in race two and fifth in the final encounter.

With six races left, Shedden finds himself 30 points behind fellow Honda driver Andrew Jordan while Neal is a further four points behind in fourth – Colin Turkington in the eBay Motors BMW 125i MSport separates them.

“Flash hasn’t had a bad weekend and it’s been positive for Andy,” said Neal. “He’s in a Civic and it’s great for him and that team. And we still have a good lead in the teams’ and manufacturers’ Championships’.

“I thought we’d be okay, skirting around the edges of the podium. The pace in the car was good and in the damp and in race three I went from 24th to seventh with a wet set up in the dry. The weather forecast said rain would come at 5pm so we had everything softened off.

“Andy’s in a strong position, but there’s still everything to play for. I’m not giving up and will go to Silverstone with a light car so we’ll see what we can do with that,” concluded Neal.

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