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Matt Neal: ‘The speed isn’t in the car’

Matt Neal had a frustrating weekend when the British Touring Car Championship returned to Snetterton after the customary six-week summer break, as the three-time champion felt he had an uphill struggle at the 2.969 mile circuit.

The Honda driver felt that the results in qualifying were something that the team ‘didn’t really deserve’, with Neal having initially had all previous efforts deleted for failing the ride height test half way through. It saw him end up 20th before his first efforts were reinstated, putting him fourth on the grid.

That qualifying basically gave me the result in race one but was only by hanging on while they seemed to line up behind me one-by-one,” said Neal to TouringCars.Net. “We definitely don’t have the speed we had in first half of the year.

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He was still unhappy in terms of the weekend’s results, with team-mate Gordon Shedden also having to fight hard against the competition.

“In the second race the car felt strong but I got shuffled down the order and then struggled to regain places. In the third race I was climbing up the order and again the car felt good, but I was tagged from behind and that was race over for me which was really frustrating.”

Neal was on strong form for the first race itself, which saw him fend off both BMW’s Andrew Jordan and Subaru’s Jason Plato for the final step on the rostrum, with Shedden himself narrowly winning ahead of the Team BMW pairing of Rob Collard and Colin Turkington in the final race. Neal would retire after lap 5 on the final race, having hit the barriers at Hamiltons.

“At least Flash [Shedden] got a result, so that’s half [of it] and he got some points,” explained Neal, who is now sixth in the overall standings on 157 points.

However, his frustration was clear, looking ahead to racing at Knockhill in just over a week’s time.

“As for Knockhill who knows; if parity stays as it is it we could be facing a horrible weekend ahead.”

This article was amended on 3 August 2017.

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