NEXT EVENT talks to Honda Yuasa Racing

At last weekend’s Silverstone Classic, caught up with Honda Yuasa Racing’s Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden to talk through their Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship seasons so far and look ahead to the remaining 15 races.

With his fair share of bad luck so far this year, including failing the ride-height test at Croft from a podium position which cost him a lot of points and demoted him to the back of the grid for the following contest, Neal has a long way to go to catch the drivers at the head of the points table. Despite that, he feels the job is far from over, and said:

“The start was fine, but the last couple of rounds haven’t gone my way. That’s the way it goes, but there’s still a lot more racing to be done, and for me the important thing is to score strong points for Honda in the Manufacturers’ and Teams’ championships.

“In the Drivers’ championship – realistically 100 points back from Turkington it’s going to be a tough shout, but with Flash just seven points behind him none of the other top four have got a wing-man like me, so if I can focus on trying to help Flash a bit then we can have some sport.”

The triple-BTCC champion is fired up for the resumption of action at Snetterton, and is a big fan of the circuit despite not having won there since back in 2006. He continued: “Snetterton always brings some good weather and some good racing. I love the new circuit, Jonathan Palmer has done a fantastic job, so I’m looking forward to it a hell of a lot!”

Neal’s team-mate Gordon Shedden has had a contrasting start to the year. With a podium at every event and points in every race, the 2012 champ is hot on the heels of Turkington and is looking to continue his consistent run in the second half of the year. He said:

“It’s been good. I’d say we’ve sprung a bit of a surprise with the pace of the Civic Tourer – I reckon people expected us to take longer to get our heads around it. I don’t think anybody anticipated that we would come out of the blocks as competitively as we did.

“From a personal point-of-view I’ve scored points in every race so far, which I’ve never managed to do before! You can’t underestimate the importance of that in the BTCC – and it underlines the consistency of the Civic Tourer, too.

“I’ve managed to get onto the podium at some stage over each race weekend, which is a massive step forward for me. Historically it has tended to be over the second half of the season that I’ve got it all together – but this is the first time I’m going into the second half not on the back foot.

“We might not have got the glory over the past couple of events – but we have been under the radar scoring some big points. Take Croft as an example – Colin Turkington stole the limelight with his two wins, but we actually scored more points than him over the weekend.

“Now we need to keep racking up the points and step it up another notch over the remainder of the year.”

Watch a video of our interview with Matt Neal from a very noisy Silverstone Classic here.


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