Record Breakers | 6/13 | Matt Neal
Continuing our look back at 2017’s record 13 different Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race winners, we switch focus to winner number six – Halfords Yuasa Racing man Matt Neal.
The triple champion’s Thruxton drive saw him seal a 60th BTCC victory with a faultless lights-to-flag performance. Neal led team-mate Gordon Shedden home, with Eurotech Racing’s Jack Goff rounding out an all-Honda top three.
Neal’s weekend started positively, as he romped to a maiden pole position of the season, and, incredibly, a first in five years. He made his advantage count away from the line, pulling clear of Shedden who was hauling the maximum 75kgs of success ballast in his position of then-championship leader. From there, the experienced racer was able to manage the situation and control the gap to the chasing pack.
The closest Shedden would get to making a move stick was a side-by-side through the Complex on the opening tour, but Neal held firm. The victory drew him level with four-time champion Andy Rouse in races won, second only to Jason Plato in the all-time tally.
“I hadn’t given much thought to equalling Andy’s win tally, to be honest,” Neal said post-race. “We all thought Andy’s record was unachievable and even though Jason [Plato] exceeded it, I never thought I would get there – just unbelievable. Yes, there are a lot more races in the season now, but its tough out there.
Matt went on to score another victory – at Silverstone, which saw him pass Rouse’s record – and a further six podiums on the way to seventh spot in the overall standings.