Neal clinches Knockhill classic
Triple champion Matt Neal clinched a Knockhill classic as the Halfords Yuasa Racing driver stormed through from eighth on the grid to win race two of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship event at the Fife track.
Neal gradually made his way up the order while the Subarus battled the BMWs for supremacy at the head of the pack.
Long-time leader Jason Plato began to struggle late on as he took turns on baulking up Sam Tordoff and Colin Turkington behind him. Tordoff and Turkington swapped positions on several occasions but neither could make a move by Plato’s Levorg, as the race one winner produced a brilliant defensive drive.
Neal nipped by both Turkington and Team IHG Rewards Club’s Jack Goff after the pair made contact on the exit of the final hairpin, and when Plato strategically held up Tordoff again on the penultimate lap Neal eyed his opportunity to blast by both.
You could throw a blanket over all three cars as they shot across the line to start the final lap, but when the dust settled it was Neal from Tordoff and Plato taking the podium positions.
Turkington had to settle for fourth while title contender Rob Collard delivered his own standout performance to take fifth, having started from 17th on the grid. Mat Jackson shuffled Goff’s BMW further down the order to claim sixth, with the sister Ford of Andrew Jordan looking rather second hand in eighth.
Scottish duo Gordon Shedden and Aiden Moffat completed the top ten classification.
Matt Neal said: “I don’t know what to say. I thought we’d have a chance one minute then I thought we’d have absolutely no chance. We got bottled up behind Andy Jordan early on but once we got past it was different. I got up behind Jason (Plato) and he was playing with Sam (Tordoff), then Jason really seemed to start to struggle with tyres. That gave me the opportunity to pounce. Sam’s been fast all weekend. When he cleared Jason, I thought that would be it. Our car was monstrous right through to the end. It bodes well for the last one with Flash on the soft tyres.
Sam Tordoff said: “It was chaos at times – we were all going for it! For a lot of it I just didn’t know where to go! We made a few tweaks to the car after race one and it was a different beast. Jason (Plato) started to struggle with his tyres and it gave me the chance. I was right with him until Matt Neal made his move then I followed him through at the hairpin – he stuck his nose in where it hurts. There’s a long way to go in the championship so we’re not thinking about the future and we’re not too worried about the long term right now. We keep scoring points and what will be will be.”
Jason Plato said: “Everything was going okay. For some reason I then had a big moment at the hairpin. The oversteer was getting worse and worse. It took me a while to recalibrate. When Colin (Turkington) tried to pass me early on, I got a knock and wondered if I got a slow puncture. It was great fun and as much as I tried, I just couldn’t quite hang on. Before the race, the target was the podium and I was fairly confident that if the balance stayed the same I could work out what to do. A podium’s a podium so I’ve got to be pleased with that. I’m starting to understand the car a bit more and Colin’s probably half-a-tenth quicker still. His intel’s a bit better than mine on these cars at the moment but we’re coming!”
2016 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Round 20 – Knockhill:
1 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing 25:42.020 (79.86 mph)
2 Sam TORDOFF (GBR) Team JCT600 Racing with GardX +1.249s
3 Jason PLATO (GBR) Silverline Subaru BMR Racing +2.340s
4 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Silverline Subaru BMR Racing +2.830s
5 Robert COLLARD (GBR) Team JCT600 Racing with GardX +2.836s
6 Mat JACKSON (GBR) Motorbase Performance +3.640s
7 Jack GOFF (GBR) Team IHG Rewards Club +4.175s
8 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) Motorbase Performance +4.756s
9 Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +5.554s
10 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +6.706s
11 Adam MORGAN (GBR) WIX Racing +10.914s
12 Rob AUSTIN (GBR) Handy Motorsport +13.192s
13 Jake HILL (GBR) RCIB Insurance Racing +15.079s
14 Dave NEWSHAM (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +18.559s
15 Jeff SMITH (GBR) Eurotech Racing +19.576s
16 Josh COOK (GBR) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +25.630s
17 Stewart LINES (GBR) Maximum Motorsport +32.399s
18 Alex MARTIN (GBR) Dextra Racing +33.788s
19 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +34.434s
20 Dan WELCH (GBR) Goodestone Racing +35.408s
21 James COLE (GBR) Silverline Subaru BMR Racing +35.538s
22 Hunter ABBOTT (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +1 lap
23 Mark HOWARD (GBR) BKR +1 lap
DNF Aron SMITH (IRL) BKR +2 laps
DNF Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +2 laps
DNF Michael EPPS (GBR) RCIB Insurance Racing +3 laps
DNF Warren SCOTT (GBR) Silverline Subaru BMR Racing +7 laps
DNF Ollie JACKSON (GBR) AmD Tuning.com+12 laps
DNF Martin DEPPER (GBR) Eurotech Racing +18 laps