As the British Touring Car Championship enters it’s final three race meetings, beginning with Rockingham this coming weekend [27th-28th August], three-time champion Matt Neal believes consistent results will be key if he is to continue to take the title fight to Sam Tordoff.
Neal, who sits nine points adrift of Tordoff in the standings, admitted that claiming a third victory of the season at Knockhill a fortnight ago was a pleasant surprise, at a circuit that, on paper, is better suited to rear-wheel drive cars.
“Heading into the last one at Knockhill, we were expecting quite a tough weekend if we were being honest with the weight we had on-board and its rear-wheel drive nature,” he explained.
“What we and the little Halfords Yuasa Racing Civic Type R managed there was just fantastic.
“It was a monster right the way through with that win in race two and fifth in race three, even with maximum success ballast.”
The circus makes it’s first of two consecutive trips to Northamptonshire next, with the 1.94 Rockingham Motor Speedway expected to produce an even closer brand of racing, as the rear-wheel drive cars largely see their straightline speed advantage reduced on the long start/finish straight and through the sweeping first corner, a prime spot for setting up overtaking moves into Deene hairpin.
Despite this, Neal believes the circuit may not favour the Honda Civic Type-R, but underlined his faith in the chassis of the car and is hopeful that another set of strong results will keep him firmly in the title race heading to Silverstone and, beyond that, Brands Hatch.
“Rockingham’s one that might not expressly favour our characteristics but we have a strong chassis and we’ve gone well there – I came away with three strong points positions and Flash got a win last year so anything can happen, as we saw in Scotland a week ago.”
Neal, who is considered a master of the art when it comes to entering title battles by virtue of consistency, admitted it was his aim to do so once more.
“Points are what’s needed and its about consistency as always in the BTCC when you’re looking to maintain a title charge. That’s the aim.”