Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Matt Neal was left ruing “what could have been” in the final race of the British Touring Car Championship at Silverstone despite securing silverware after progressing through the field late on.
Neal qualified third after an encouraging Saturday but slipped back to sixth in the opening encounter on the medium compound tyre in damp-but-drying conditions.
He then failed to finish the second race after he had a puncture following contact, but pitted under the safety car in a dramatic rain-affected final contest which saw him carve his way through the field by picking off slick-shod runners as they struggled in worsening conditions.
Despite securing a trophy, Neal told TouringCars.Net he still feels “a bit deflated” as he feels he had a real shot at a race win if he had pitted a lap earlier.
“I finished on the podium from the back of the grid and I still feel a bit deflated about it,” said Neal.
“Maybe if we’d pitted a lap earlier, you just think what could have been and also for Dan [Cammish] as well.
“I should really be finishing on a high and I’m feeling a bit down.”
With team-mate Cammish still well in title contention, Neal described the Drivers’ title aspirations as a “pipedream,” with the primary focus remaining on the Teams’ Championship title.
“We came here with no expectations and we thought we’d be strong here and we were actually,” he said.
“We should be strong at Brands, but the Drivers’ title is a pipedream. We’ll go for it, obviously. If it happens, it happens, but we never envisaged that.
“The prime goals are the Teams’ and getting the Manufacturers’ and the Drivers’ would just be a dream come true.
“We know it’s not going to be easy, but we’ll give it our best shot at Brands.”
After Cammish secured two wins at the season-ending Brands Hatch GP meeting last season, Neal is confident of his chances particularly given he will be lighter than the title contenders.
“I’ll be light – ish – lighter than the guys that count!
“The Type R is good around Brands, it was last year. Dan’s good around Brands, he’s got mega commitment in the fast stuff.
“Bring it on.”
The season finale of the 2019 British Touring Car Championship takes place at Brands Hatch on the 12-13 October.