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Matt Neal takes win in third incident packed race at Silverstone

The reverse grid race at Silverstone British Touring Car Championship was as exciting as ever with Matt Neal taking the win from 12th on the grid, followed closely by Tom Chiltons’ sub for the weekend, WTCC driver Rob Huff and Dave Newsham in third.

BTC Norlin Racings’ Newsham lined up his Chevrolet Cruze on pole, with Tom Chiltons’ sub, Rob Huff along side him in his Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra.

Most of the grid had left the harder option tyres to the third race, due to the forecast risk of rain. However as the race was about to start, the sun actually came out and the track warmed up. Tom Ingram, Rob Austin, Matt Neal, Chris Smiley and Colin Turkington were all on the prime softer tyre and no doubt hoping to make the most of the improving weather conditions.

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Subaru’s Ash Sutton,  prior to the race, said he was ‘a man on a mission’ after being relegated to the rear of the grid under the three strikes rule after his contact with Turkington in race two and also having 57kg of ballast on board his Subaru.

Rob Huff got a fast,  start taking the lead by the first corner and he drove a defensive race throughout, bowing only to the pressure of Matt Neal who made his way through the field (with zero ballast and on the option tyre) and kept out of trouble.

Rob Austin and Gordon Shedden came together into Copse on the first lap and Austin was sent out wide and sideways.  He managed to save it and keep going, but this left him down the field.  Adam Morgan moved up into third with Ingram 4th with Michael Epps 5th after the first lap.

Turkington, starting 7th, had a big sideways moment, putting him down into 21st. Not the start he had hoped for.

Lap three saw a big mid field accident involving Josh Cook, Ollie Jackson and Jason Plato, with Stephen Jelley slowing up to avoid Plato, Turkington tagging Jelley and knocking him sideways and Turkington then collecting Jelley.  Plato’s car was damaged badly causing the safety car to come out.  Josh Price was hit by Mat Simpson, causing him to come off behind safety car.

Turkington then had to pit for turbo pipe problems.  He re-joined but was, by then, a lap down and effectively in last position where he remained for the rest of the race.

Huff got a great restart and Ingram moved into second at Copse.  On lap 10, Ingram, on the softer tyres then started to hound Huff.  Huff continued to absorb the pressure.  Morgan moved up the inside of Newsham at Luffield.

On laps 12, both Jake Hill and Rory Butcher had to pit and retire from the race.

By lap 13, Sutton had come from the back of the field to 19th.  Shedden, meanwhile, went very, very wide into Beckets and continued to look like he was having car problems.

On lap 14, Morgan pushed Huff wide.  Huff went onto the grass and down to third with Morgan coming through and Neal close behind.  On the next lap, Neal managed to get through into the lead with Newsham trying to follow through.  Shedden and Austin touch sending Shedden across the grass and back onto the track, narrowly being missed by cars as he slid across the track.

At lap 15, the order at the front was Huff, Morgan, Neal, Newsham, Ingram and Austin.

Neal managed to get by Morgan on Lap 16 on the inside at Brooklands.  Neal then started to pursue Huff, getting a black and white warning flag for exceeding track limits as he went.

By lap 18, Sutton was up to 16th but Shedden, clearly with some issues was down in 21st and Turkington still in 22nd.

Lap 20 saw Newsham get by Morgan into Woodcote.  Morgan and he both went wide into Copse and touched.  Newsham managed to keep third but Ingram managed to get up to 4th with Austin close by.

Despite a sterling effort to defend, Huff succumbed to Neal on lap 21, Neal managing to get a run into Maggots and taking the lead coming out of Beckets.  Austin carried out a mirror manoeuvre on Morgan at the same time.

Lap 22 saw Sutton up to 11th which is as far as he could go and where he finished the race.

With the better tyre and zero ballast, Neal started to pull a gap on Huff but Huff remained steadfast despite a huge amount of pressure from Newsham, Ingram and Austin and this is how they all crossed the line, with Sutton taking 11th, Shedden 21st and Turkington 22nd.

By finishing outside the points, defending champion Shedden is now effectively out of the running in this year’s title race, as he would need to win all three races at Brands Hatch, including scooping bonus points, in order to seal the crown.

Race result

1 25 M Matt NEAL Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R 25 28:15.455 59.665 12
2 37 M Rob HUFF Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra 25 0.728 59.890 2
3 17 Dave NEWSHAM BTC Norlin Racing Chevrolet Cruze 25 0.997 59.857 1
4 80 Tom INGRAM Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis 25 1.434 59.864 7
5 11 Rob AUSTIN Handy Motorsport Toyota Avensis 25 1.865 59.676 5
6 33 Adam MORGAN Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes-Benz A-Class 25 3.006 59.922 4
7 22 Chris SMILEY BTC Norlin Racing Chevrolet Cruze 25 3.626 59.910 10
8 77 M Andrew JORDAN BMW Pirtek Racing BMW 125i M Sport 25 3.761 59.661 26
9 31 Jack GOFF Eurotech Racing Honda Civic Type R 25 5.568 1:00.032 8
10 3 Mat JACKSON Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo Ford Focus 25 6.457 59.591 28
11 116 M Ashley SUTTON Adrian Flux Subaru Racing Subaru Levorg GT 25 6.727 59.668 30
12 12 Mike EPPS Autoaid / RCIB Insurance Racing Volkswagen CC 25 8.454 59.999 9
13 10 Ant WHORTON-EALES with Cobra Exhausts Audi S3 25 9.599 59.954 22
14 16 Aiden MOFFAT Laser Tools Racing Mercedes-Benz A-Class 25 10.546 59.768 29
15 20 M James COLE Adrian Flux Subaru Racing Subaru Levorg GT 25 10.913 1:00.057 20
16 30 Martin DEPPER Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo Ford Focus 25 11.114 59.701 19
17 40 M Árón TAYLOR-SMITH MG Racing RCIB Insurance MG6GT 25 11.810 1:00.205 13
18 18 M Senna PROCTOR Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra 25 12.753 59.476 21
19 39 Brett SMITH Eurotech Racing Honda Civic Type R 25 14.667 1:00.106 11
20 303 M Matt SIMPSON Simpson Racing Honda Civic Type R 25 14.889 1:00.238 23
21 52 M Gordon SHEDDEN Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R 25 14.914 59.908 3
22 4 M Colin TURKINGTON Team BMW BMW 125i M Sport 24 1 Lap 59.723 6
R 66 Josh COOK MG Racing RCIB Insurance MG6GT 14 DNF 59.583 17
R 24 Jake HILL TAG Racing Volkswagen CC 14 DNF 59.529 16
R 6 Rory BUTCHER Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo Ford Focus 11 DNF 1:01.702 18
R 28 M Josh PRICE A-Plan Academy Subaru Levorg GT 2 DNF 1:02.995 15
R 99 M Jason PLATO Adrian Flux Subaru Racing Subaru Levorg GT 1 DNF 1:08.722 14
R 7 Stephen JELLEY Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport Ford Focus 1 DNF 1:09.997 25
R 48 Ollie JACKSON with Cobra Exhausts Audi S3 1 DNF 1:10.359 27
R 95 Stewart LINES Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport Ford Focus 0 DNF N/A 24
NS 5 M Rob COLLARD Team BMW BMW 125i M Sport DNS N/A 31
NS 61 Will BURNS Autoaid / RCIB Insurance Racing Volkswagen CC DNS N/A
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