Triple British Touring Car champion Matt Neal is hopeful that he can bounce back at Donington Park next weekend, following a disappointing season opener at Brands Hatch for the new Honda Civic Type R FK8.
The new Honda showed flashes of speed on its debut at the Kent circuit, with Neal’s teammate Dan Cammish qualifying the car on provisional pole position before it was stripped from him for failing to stop mid-session for scrutineering checks.
The two cars struggled on raceday on the Indy layout, with Cammish’s eighth place in the opening race the best result for either car all weekend.
But the Team Dynamics duo are hoping to make the most of their ‘home’ advantage at the team’s local circuit – Donington Park – next weekend.
“Donington is my home circuit, so I always get a lot of friends and family coming along to support me, which is great,” said Neal.
“We learned a bit more about the new Civic Type R at Brands Hatch. It’s quite a different beast to its predecessor and we still have more work to do to fully refine it.”
The three-time BTCC champion has good memories at his local track, where he celebrated his maiden victory in the series 19 years ago.
He believes the fast, flowing layout of the Leicestershire circuit will better suit the new Civic Type R FK8.
“I’m hopeful that with its strong engine and sleek silhouette, it will prove well-suited to Donington, especially through the high-speed stuff.”
A disappointing race day at Brands Hatch marred by mixed weather conditions and unavoidable contact means the Team Dynamics pair will both go into the next weekend ballast-free.
“Whilst I’d obviously rather have the points in the bag, the disappointment at Brands means I won’t be carrying any weight in qualifying or race one,” said Neal.
“So I need to make sure I take advantage of that and really capitalise on the situation.
The aim is to come away with three solid points finishes.”