BTCC Race Three – Neal wins as Austin fades from pole

Plato hasn't had a good day (photo by Marc Waller)Matt Neal has made it two wins out of three for the new Honda Civic Type R BTCC car as he took an exciting victory at Brands Hatch.

Again as in both previous races the initial leader looked set to dominate only for something to go wrong. This time it was Rob Austin leading from pole that looked set for victory but as happened to Priaulx, Austin couldn’t keep up the pace and first Neal and then Jack Goff got past in his MG. Aron Smith and Sam Tordoff followed through but there Austin was able to halt the slide and he took fifth.

Austin’s chances of victory weren’t helped when the initial lead he pulled out from the pack was cut by the intervention of a safety car. This was scrambled when Rob Collard was knocked into the Druids gravel trap. Several other cars made contact and Warren Scott’s BMR VW plus Josh Cook’s Power Maxed Chevrolet were also out. Cooks car pulled off further round the track which lead to the safety car period being extended while cars were removed from two places.

After Austin moved out of contention for the win, it was Matt Neal and Jack Goff fighting for the win but despite following closely Goff couldn’t find a way past the Honda with his MG. Aron Smith fought his way up to an excellent third (And the independent win) after starting twelfth. His BMR team mates didn’t fare so well, Scott was out on the first lap while Plato had a car problem which slowed him leaving him sixteenth and out of the points by the end. Colin Turkington was running strongly initially but a spin at Surtees dropped him to twelfth.

Behind the top five, Ingram took sixth in his Speedworks Toyota rounding off a consistent points scoring day. Morgan who had also been regularly in the points took seventh this time with Andy Priaulx Eighth, not being able to show the pace of earlier in the day.

Ninth was Dave Newsham in Power Maxed’s best result to date with Hunter Abbott making the top ten. Behind Mike Bushell just missed out on a top ten finish but his points from that race were enough to win him the Jack Sears trophy for this round. This season the trophy is awarded to the best rookie.

Eurotech team mates Depper and Smith took thirteenth and fourteenth, having been very close all race. The final points position was Simon Belcher in his Handy Motorsport Avensis.

Neal’s Honda Team mate Shedden, failed to finish after a technical issue.

Full results are once again available on TSL timing.
The BTCC now heads to Donington Park on the 18th and 19th of April. Advance tickets are available from the Donington Park website.

The championship is still looking very open, Neal is currently leading from Goff and Aron Smith. Priaulx is fourth followed by Shedden, Turkington, Morgan and Ingram. Tordoff is ninth and Collard currently tenth despite winning a race. Plato, after a disastrous race two and three is down in thirteenth. By Marc Waller

Goff couldn't get past Neal (photo by Marc Waller) Neal takes the second win for the Type R (photo by Marc Waller) Austin lead strongly early on (photo by Marc Waller) The final top three pulled clear of the field (photo by Marc Waller) An overjoyed Neal at the end of the race (photo by Marc Waller) Mike Bushell won the Jack Sears trophy for this event (photo by Marc Waller) Final Podium (photo by Marc Waller)

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