Neal wins BTCC race three at Silverstone as stand in Huff stars

Huff leads at the start (Photo by Marc Waller)

Huff leads at the start (Photo by Marc Waller)Matt Neal has won the final BTCC race of the day at Silverstone after an entertaining battle with Rob Huff.

Neal had hauled his Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda from twelfth to challenge Huff for the win. Huff took the lead at the start after Pole Sitter Dave Newsham made a slow start in the BTC Norlin Chevrolet.

There was a safety car after a few laps after a big crash just after luffield. Josh Cook’s MG and Jason Plato’s Subaru made contact coming out of Luffield corner and Plato spun into the path of Stephen Jelley’s Ford Focus. Plato then kept sliding backwards and hit Ollie Jackson’s Audi who had taken to the grass to try and avoid the crash. Jackson was sent spinning into the barriers and all three, (Plato, Jelley and Jackson) were out of the race. Turkington also made contact with the mess and had to head to the pits to repair the damage to his BMW.

At this point it was Tom Ingram who was trying to get the lead off Rob Huff but he made an error on his passing attempt on the Vauxhall and dropped to fourth.

So the lead battle was now between Neal and Huff after Neal had worked his way up the field, passing Newsham before catching Huff. Ingram’s failed move had seen him drop behind the Honda.
Neal and Huff then did battle for several laps, with Huff’s excellent defensive driving keeping him ahead in what appeared to be a slower car.

Neal’s team mate Shedden was having less luck and spun out of the points after contact with Austin. The Scotsman was lucky not to hit anyone as he spun across the track but his title defense now looks very unlikely.

It was the twenty first lap when Neal finally made the move on Huff to take the lead. Huff initially attempted to repass Neal but the Honda soon pulled away.

Neal was delighted to win on what’s often been a difficult circuit for the team;

“We’ve had long weekend, so that was lovely. It’ll make pack up and the journey home a wee bit shorter. It’s great for everybody involved, but it has been a tough weekend. I was a little bit lucky but a lot went for the hard option tyre earlier on and I took the risk. It was a bit of a struggle for me in race two on that rubber through copse, so I thought it’d be a good hunting ground for me in race three, and so it was. I tried to make headway early on and then things settled and I could try and work out where we were strong and others were weaker. It was the fast stuff where we are generally, and it is there where the Honda Civic Type R goes well. I thought it was going to be hard work, trying to pass Rob [Huff] but he left me a little chink of light and I got through.”

Huff was still happy with second;

“We started the weekend 28th so who’d have thought we’d have got a podium from that. What a team these guys are and it’s great to be here in front of some great fans. I really want to get myself back into the BTCC – it’s been a great weekend. Although it’s a front-wheel drive car, it’s got its own quirks and its own tricks up its sleeve. I could see Matt [Neal] coming and I knew it’d be tough to hold on and I wasn’t going to run him out of road. It was great to battle with someone who was here when I was last!”

Newsham managed to take a third from his reverse grid pole and was happy with that;

“It is an incredible achievement for the team to get onto the podium – it’s our first year! I can’t thank Norlin enough and everyone who’s backing us. I like to think I’m doing the business for the guys that put me here. The car was just mega. I had the pace and I gave myself a strong talking to after the worst start of my life. I could have even won it had I done better there. It’s like a win for us. There’s been a lot of investment put into this team. Every time we go out we’re learning more and we’re hitting the sweet spot. It’s a shame for us that the season’s coming to an end.”

Chris Smiley took the second Norlin car to seventh completing the team’s best weekend to date. Between the two Norlin cars in fourth, fifth and sixth came Ingram, Austin and Morgan.

Eighth was Andrew Jordan, recovering something from a day ruined by the race one shunt. Goff took ninth this time, off the podium for the first time this weekend after a strong weekend for the Eurotech team. His team mate Brett Smith took the Jack Sears Trophy rookie award for the weekend after getting the best results of any of the newcomers in the championship. Matt Jackson completed the top ten for Team Shredded Wheat Racing.

Eleventh was championship leader Ash Sutton. That would usually have been a disappointing result for a championship contender but with all his rivals hitting trouble, he actually extended his championship lead! He now leads by ten points from Colin Turkington with Shedden now looking like he may be too far back in third. Tom Ingram has retained the lead of the independents championship after a strong weekend. Rival Goff also had a good weekend himself but the race three result means that Ingram slightly extends his lead over Goff.

Things are all set for a dramatic finale in just two weeks at Brands Hatch in Kent. If you want to be there, advance tickets are already available from the Brands Hatch website or you can watch all the action on ITV4. We’ll bring you reports from all three races once again when we’ll find out who the 2017 champions are.

Cook and Plato collide (Photo by Marc Waller) Plato is spun into Jelleys path (Photo by Marc Waller) Jackson is tagged by a spinning Plato (Photo by Marc Waller) Jacksons car is left heavily damaged (Photo by Marc Waller) Neal wins (Photo by Marc Waller) The top three are joined on the podium by Jack Sears trophy winner Brett (Photo by Marc Waller)




2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Round 27 – Silverstone
1 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing 25 laps
2 Rob HUFF (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +0.728s
3 Dave NEWSHAM (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +0.997s
4 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +1.434s
5 Rob AUSTIN (GBR) Handy Motorsport +1.865s
6 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Ciceley Motorsport +3.006s
7 Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +3.626s
8 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) BMW Pirtek Racing +3.761s
9 Jack GOFF (GBR) Eurotech Racing +5.568s
10 Mat JACKSON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo +6.457s
11 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +6.727s
12 Michael EPPS (GBR) TAG Racing +8.454s
13 Ant WHORTON-EALES (GBR) with Cobra Exhausts +9.599s
14 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +10.546s
15 James COLE (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +10.913s
16 Martin DEPPER (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo +11.114s
17 Aron TAYLOR-SMITH (IRL) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +11.810s
18 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +12.753s
19 Brett SMITH (GBR) Eurotech Racing +14.667s
20 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing +14.889s
21 Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +14.914s
22 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +1 lap
DNF Josh COOK (GBR) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +11 laps
DNF Jake HILL (GBR) TAG Racing +11 laps
DNF Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo +14 laps
DNF Josh PRICE (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +23 laps
DNF Jason PLATO (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +24 laps
DNF Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport +24 laps
DNF Ollie JACKSON (GBR) with Cobra Exhausts +24 laps
DNF Stewart LINES (GBR) Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport +25 laps By Marc Waller

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