Matt Neal wins the battle of Donington
The final BTCC race of the day provided incredible action as Honda’s Matt Neal came out on top of what can only be described as a titanic battle at Donington Park.
Rookie Josh Cook started the race from pole position and despite losing out off the line to the BMW of Rob Collard, he soon re-passed and did an absolutely stellar job at the front until a mid-race Safety Car intervention dramatically reduced his lead.
There were changes aplenty behind as Jason Plato’s VW, Andrew Jordan’s MG and the Mercedes of Adam Morgan tussled for third.
The race was neutralised on lap six when Sam Tordoff’s BMW and Jack Goff’s MG had a coming together at the final chicane. Both cars were fired off into the gravel and out of the race with the Safety Car being deployed to allow marshals to retrieve both stricken vehicles.
Aron Smith had already fired his VW from 12th on the grid up to third prior to the incident and was into second shortly after the restart. He immediately reeled in the race-leading Chevrolet ahead of him which led to a pulsating scrap over the following few laps. The pair touched through the ultra fast Craner Curves and both cars bounced across the grass in dramatic fashion. The wild sliding VW of Smith made it back on to the track right amongst the chasing pack while Cook rejoined in fifth. It was an incredible escape for both drivers but the incident left Collard’s BMW in the lead.
Neal, who had already clashed with Jordan’s MG at the Old Hairpin, hauled in the WSR car and squeezed his Honda into the lead. Jordan made it through too and he was eventually sandwiched between two Hondas as Shedden made the last step on the podium after his own stellar drive from 14th on the grid.
Collard claimed fourth ahead of an incredible drive from teenager Aiden Moffat. Not only did the Mercedes youngster make the most of the incidents ahead of him but he also made impressive late moves by previous race leaders Smith and Cook.
Plato was eighth while Martin Depper scored his best ever BTCC result in the Eurotech Honda with ninth. Tom Ingram’s Toyota completed the top ten order.