Matt Neal was philosophical about his weekend in the British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park, despite failing to gain significant ground in the championship battle with three points finishes.
Neal scored a fifth, second and 14th place result in Sunday’s three races respectively, also qualifying his Honda Civic in fifth despite carrying 33 kg of success ballast heading into the weekend.
The three-time champion looked to have been on for three solid top ten results, until going off the circuit in race three when Tom Ingram muscled past at Clay Hill and Neal put up a staunch defence.
Despite that loss in the final race, Neal remained optimistic about his performances, which have seen him gain two points in the title race but leave Cheshire just 26 points away from the series lead.
“Not a bad weekend for us,” said Neal. “Maybe no cigar this time. We weren’t too sure how we were going to go.
“I think it was promising with the car and I was just unlucky in the last race, otherwise I think we could have had three fairly solid top six finishes. We would have been right up there in the championship.
“It means we’re going to be a bit lighter going into Croft and given how close it is this year everything can change in a meeting as Colin [Turkington] has shown. Where you qualify really dictates your weekend and your fortunes.
“Being lighter will help us in qualifying because it is so close. There’s a long way to go yet – we’re not even half way.”