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Neal still on top despite struggle
4:00pm Friday 17th August 2012 in Sport
PERSHORE team star Matt Neal continues to lead the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship despite a tough meeting at Snetterton.
Jason Plato, Andrew Jordan and Dave Newsham shared the wins in Norfolk but reigning champion Neal still heads the standings from Honda Yuasa Racing team-mate Gordon Shedden.
Plato got in front at the start of race one to take his third win of 2012 in his MG KX Momentum Racing MG6 ahead of Frank Wrathall and Jordan.
Lichfield’s Jordan triumphed in the second race but only after Plato’s MG and Neal’s Honda Civic controversially collided and ran off the track ahead of him with a lap to go.
Shedden was second in front of the recovering Plato and Neal in third and fourth respectively.
Inverness racer Newsham’s victory for Team ES Racing.com came in race three in his Vauxhall Vectra. Tom Onslow-Cole was second ahead of Plato.
But there was double disaster for Honda as Neal finished eighth after a spin and Shedden, who crossed the line in third, was excluded for a technical infringement.
Neal, 45, retains the championship lead but now only 10 points cover the top three with Shedden eight behind and Plato just two more adrift.
The Worcestershire ace said: “We knew we were on the backfoot after qualifying and so it proved to be.
“It’s been a case of damage limitation and the spin in race three after contact from Wrathall did me no favours.
“Knockhill, which has shorter straights, is next so it should be better for us but it’s clear we have a lot of work to do.”
Pershore’s Rob Austin Racing finished 12th in the first race but failed to complete the others in their Audi A4.
Austin’s car, now 13th in the overall standings, sustained broken steering in a scrape with Robert Collard’s BMW during race three.
Honda/Dynamics and Honda Yuasa Racing still lead the Manufacturers/Constructors and HiQ Teams championships.
The competition heads to Scottish track Knockhill on August 25 and 26.