MATT Neal claimed a popular podium finish on home turf in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Donington Park but late misfortune for his Halfords Yuasa Racing team-mate Gordon Shedden cost the Scot the standings lead.
After lining up alongside each other on the third row of the grid for race one Neal fought through to snare the runner-up spoils in his Honda Civic Type R, pulling off a spectacular wheel-to-wheel pass on Evesham driver Rob Austin down the Craner Curves along the way.
On maximum success ballast due to his championship lead Shedden grittily clung on to finish seventh and Austin was third for Handy Motorsport.
With both the Pershore team's drivers on the harder-compound tyre in the day’s second outing Shedden exhibited all of his remarkable car control to pull off an astonishing save on his way to sixth with Neal, grappling with 66kg of ballast following his race one heroics, not far behind in seventh.
Defending champion Shedden then produced a virtuoso performance to speed to an unchallenged victory in the rain-soaked finale but a late sting in the tail saw him excluded from the results over a technical infringement.
Neal was caught out by the conditions and beached in the gravel trap before being ruled out of the restart.
Shedden and Neal will travel to Thruxton on May 6 and 7 sitting fourth and eighth respectively in the drivers’ table with Honda and Halfords Yuasa Racing second in the manufacturers’ and teams’ classifications.
Laser Tools Racing’s Aiden Moffat scored a breakthrough win in race one before Speedworks Motorsport driver Tom Ingram surged to the top of the overall standings after taking his second victory of the season.
Team BMW’s Colin Turkington claimed the honours in the final encounter at the Leicestershire venue.
Bidford-on-Avon team Power Maxed Racing had two 10th-place finishes through Tom Chilton and Senna Proctor.