‘Diamond Double’ delight for Matt Neal
BTCC legend Matt Neal – a three-time champion who has already written his name in BTCC history – has landed another landmark moment in his career with a memorable victory in today’s ‘Diamond Double’ race at Snetterton.
The ‘Diamond Double’ – a one-off 60-mile, ballast-free and double points race – was announced ahead of the 2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season as a special celebratory contest to commemorate the 60 year anniversary of the BTCC. Whilst the 30-race season and ultimately the championship remains the main priority of drivers and teams in the series, this particular race was the one that everyone wanted.
Pole-sitter Jack Goff made a steady getaway and kept Neal at arms length during the early running, before a brief rain flurry brought the Halfords Yuasa Racing man onto the tail of the leading car.
The moment came on lap nine as Neal scythed his way past the WIX Racing with Eurotech machine of Goff, whilst Tom Ingram looked on behind in his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis.
The trio remained inseparable for the remainder of the race but as the rain began to ease it looked as if Goff and Ingram had the pace over Neal’s Honda. The new-for-2018 Civic Type R flexed its muscles, however, and as Goff and Ingram began to fight it left Neal free to clinch the 63rd win of his illustrious BTCC career.
Neal’s copybook spans three of the six BTCC decades and has included three fantastic titles, as well as the famous independent race win and the £250,000 prize for victory at Donington Park back in 1999, and this latest success will be just as sweet for the most experienced man on the grid.
The longer 60-mile race proved frenetic throughout and it was a bruising encounter for a number of the contenders. When the flag fell behind the lead trio of Neal, Goff and Ingram it was BMW Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan and Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher’s Tom Chilton that claimed fourth and fifth.
Sixth place was extremely hard fought and eventually went the way of Team BMW’s Colin Turkington, who somehow avoided any catastrophic contact during a race-long melee with BTC Norlin Racing’s Chris Smiley and the Power Maxed TAG Racing duo of Josh Cook and Senna Proctor.
Cook claimed seventh ahead of the recovering Matt Simpson. Daniel Lloyd and Proctor had to settle for ninth and tenth at the finish.
2018 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Round 18: ‘The Diamond Double’ – Snetterton
1 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing 21 laps
2 Jack GOFF (GBR) WIX Racing with Eurotech +0.243s
3 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +0.611s
4 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) BMW Pirtek Racing +4.372s
5 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +5.389s
6 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +24.111s
7 Josh COOK (GBR) Power Maxed TAG Racing +24.824s
8 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing +28.191s
9 Dan LLOYD (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +28.472s
10 Bobby THOMPSON (GBR) Team HARD with Trade Price Cars +31.337s
11 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) AmD with Cobra Exhausts +31.369s
12 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Power Maxed TAG Racing +31.404s
13 Rob AUSTIN (GBR) DUO Motorsport with HMS Racing +33.911s
14 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +34.211s
15 Jason PLATO (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +34.335s
16 Ant WHORTON-EALES (GBR) AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing +34.874s
17 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker Racing +35.723s
18 Sam SMELT (GBR) AmD with Cobra Exhausts +36.098s
19 Dan WELCH (GBR) Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing +51.616s
20 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +1m34.899s
21 Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +4 laps
22 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +4 laps
23 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport +7 laps
24 Sam TORDOFF (GBR) Team GardX Racing with Motorbase +9 laps
25 Mike BUSHELL (GBR) Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing +13 laps
26 James COLE (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +17 laps
27 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Ciceley Motorsport +19 laps
28 Brett SMITH (GBR) WIX Racing with Eurotech +19 laps
29 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) AmD with AutoAid/RCIB Insurance Racing +21 laps
– Rob COLLARD (GBR) Team BMW DNS
– Michael CAINE (GBR) Team HARD with Trade Price Cars DNS