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PODIUMS APLENTY FOR HONDA AT THRUXTON

Dan Cammish and Matt Neal collected one of their strongest points hauls of the season so far as the series reached its halfway point at Thruxton last weekend (19/20 September), both drivers twice climbing the podium and, in the process, securing a pair of manufacturer prizes for Honda.

With the two Honda Civic Type R race cars wearing a one-off livery celebrating battery supplier Yuasa’s tenth season with the team, Cammish made a statement of intent by topping the times in both practice sessions and then taking pole position. Matt Neal produced his best qualifying performance of the campaign to line up third, less than two tenths of a second off the fastest time.

Front-row rival Tom Ingram beat Cammish off the line in race one, Neal slotting in behind his team-mate. The top two quickly established a gap on the opposition, and in the closing laps Cammish closed in on Ingram but couldn’t quite force his Honda past, finishing second. Neal meanwhile held off Adam Morgan to take third place, his first podium finish of 2020.

Cammish was again beaten away in the second bout, dropping to third behind Neal, but he retook the place from his team-mate at the end of the lap and set off after race leader Ingram.

Again, Cammish was able to pressure the leader without finding a way past, though on the final corner the Honda pulled alongside its rival before having to give way and again finish second. Neal withstood initial heavy pressure from championship leader Ashley Sutton to maintain his third spot and earn Honda its second manufacturer award of the day.

The reverse grid draw for the final race put Neal and Cammish in sixth and seventh spots respectively. More start issues dropped Cammish to ninth off the line, and then a side-by-side battle with leading title rival Colin Turkington saw the Honda lose momentum and fall to 12th.

Cammish fought back to claim tenth at the flag and some vital extra championship points. Neal slotted into seventh at the start and held it right through the race, the veteran driver climbing back into the championship top ten and in the process securing a Teams’ award for Halfords Yuasa Racing.     

A strong day helped Cammish trim the points deficit to the championship leaders, while Neal continued a remarkable success record at Thruxton, having climbed the podium at the Hampshire track 32 times in total and at least once every season since 2002.

Dan Cammish said: “I had a day of terrible starts, which was a shame. In the first two races I found I could catch Ingram but he had enough traction that I couldn’t make enough difference in the slow corners to take advantage in the quick ones. We both gave it everything – there was nothing left in the tank for either of us. Then in race three I got beat up a bit, I survived and earned points but I would have liked a few more.

“Pole and two seconds, along with Matt’s double-podium alongside me, is a great result from the day. Now we go onto Silverstone with the car and the engine working well and there’s no reason why we can’t have another successful weekend.”

Matt Neal said: “You are hanging on here wherever you are in the pack, so we are over the moon to have both cars on the podium in two races, and I’m of course delighted to continue my record here.

“It was a strong weekend on Yuasa’s tenth anniversary, the win eluded us but I’m feeling pretty bullish for Silverstone and looking forward to it – the engine’s working well, as are the aerodynamics, we just need a bit of luck and speed.”

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