Honda Racing Team drivers Matt Neal and Gordon ‘Flash’ Shedden are feeling positive ahead of this weekend’s rounds of the 2011 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Croft in North Yorkshire.
Former double champion, Matt Neal heads to the fifth meeting of the season on top of the drivers’ standings and Honda also leads the manufacturers’ and teams’ points tables too. Neal and team-mate Gordon Shedden are both hopeful that the demanding 2.25-mile track will help to deliver more success for the Honda Racing team.
“It has been a great track for us in the past and I think that we will be strong there again,” said Neal. “It’s a track that really rewards a car that has a strong chassis and that is something we have got with the Civic. It’s very strong in the fast sweeping corners and it’s also a good car when you have to be aggressive across the kerbing. I am going there confident of a strong weekend.”
Despite Neal’s optimism, he says that there will be one factor which could knock the team’s preparations ahead of the three races on Sunday – the good old British weather. “We saw at the last round at Oulton Park that difficult conditions can change everything,” said Neal. “I have looked at the forecast for the weekend and it looks unpredictable. I just hope we can have three dry races to get the most out of the car.”
Neal’s team-mate Shedden is just two points behind in the race for the drivers’ title and he says that Croft could be one of the turning points of the season. “I agree that our car is going to be strong around Croft and I took two wins there last season,” said Flash. “Our rivals don’t stand still though so we will have to push hard to stay on top.
“For each weekend, I need to take away 30 points to remain in the title hunt – that is the target. That means three solid top three finishes and if you can get any more than that, then it is a bonus. I think we can perform strongly because it is such a technical track and it has two distinct characters.
“It has some really fast corners around the back of the circuit which mean you need a great handling car but it also has the slow and technical stuff at the end of the lap so we need to make sure that the set-up is perfect. Getting all of those elements right is what makes it such a buzz when you hook it all up.”
The fifth meeting of the 2011 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship takes place on Saturday and Sunday and the entire race day is broadcast live on ITV4. The first race takes place on Sunday at 12.10pm. Fans can also follow Honda Racing on Facebook and Twitter for news and race results as the action happens – www.facebook.com/HondaRacingBTCC and www.twitter.com/hondaracingbtcc