“If you’re looking backwards, you’re going backwards”
Triple British Touring Car Champion Matt Neal is focussed on keeping his title tilt on track this weekend as the series roars into Rockingham.
Neal has won on four occasions at the Northamptonshire circuit but has endured a miserable time at the venue over the last two years.
“Despite having had a bit of a nightmare here recently I actually really enjoy Rockingham,” said Neal. “We’ve had good times here before and there’s no reason why we can’t have them again.”
Leading the standings coming into the Rockingham event back in 2013 Neal had dropped to fourth by the end of the weekend, whilst his title chances were completely extinguished at the Northamptonshire circuit 12 months ago.
The Honda star has been nursing injuries on both occasions, however, which certainly didn’t help his cause.
With those events long behind him the fully fit Neal has again been flying this season, and having won last time out at Knockhill he’s now within touching distance of points leader Jason Plato and second placed Honda team-mate Gordon Shedden.
“We’ve had a great season overall and the little Civic Type R has been competitive almost every weekend,” continued Neal. “I’ve always said it’s important to be leading at the end of the season rather than during it. Our recent history at Rockingham just doesn’t come into my thinking – if you’re looking backwards, you’re going backwards.”
Neal kicked off his campaign with wins at both Brands Hatch and Donington Park before podiums followed at Thruxton and Oulton Park. In fact with the exception of Snetterton, which will go down as one to forget for Honda generally, the Midlander has collected a solid points haul at every event.
“I think I’m a lot more relaxed than I have been in the past,” concluded Neal. “Of course there are stresses involved when you’re trying to score good results for a manufacturer with the stature of Honda but I’m also trying to enjoy the experience more.
“It’s swings and roundabouts in many ways, sometimes I’m quicker than Flash and then on occasion it can be the other way. It’s about maximising your opportunity in any given moment, which is why looking back is not an option. The competition is really tough out there and I expect it to be so again this weekend, but we’re up for it.”