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Halfords Yuasa Racing performance pleasing for Matt Neal

Despite finishing the series opener in third position, three-time BTCC champion Matt Neal was delighted with a double podium finish for Halfords Yuasa Racing after his team-mate Gordon Shedden finished second behind maiden winner Tom Ingram at Brands Hatch.

The duo finished 2.284 and 3.925 seconds respectively behind Ingram, who led with authority from the start and successfully managed a gap despite a safety car period at half-distance. Neal initially held on to the back of his team-mate and Ingram, but found himself falling back after the restart and eventually had to settle for the final step on the rostrum.

Speaking to after the podium ceremony, Neal gave an insight into his thoughts and, despite a tinge of disappointment, was happy to still bring the car home and claim some silverware.

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“A double podium for the team! I wish we’d had a bit more pace, we were taking it easy to start with round the kerbs and just looking after the tyres, bedding everything in and then after the safety car I said ‘right, let’s crack on now!’. And they [Ingram and Shedden] went and I didn’t have the pace to stay with them. Little bit disappointed with that but I’m dead chuffed about finishing on the podium.”

He also paid tribute to Ingram, who now heads into the second race this afternoon on pole position with an excellent chance to double his career wins within the space of two hours, though he will start with the maximum of 75 kilos of success ballast on board.

“Even though we got beaten it’s lovely to see Tom [Ingram] there on the top step, the first one is always a special one.” he smiled.

He also briefly allured to some tweaks needed to his Honda Civic Type R before it contests the second race, which gets underway at 14:12 this afternoon.

“We’ve got a bit of work to do, it’s going to be fine-tuning it rather than re-inventing the wheel.”

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