Matt Neal, Honda Yuasa Racing Honda

Matt Neal, Honda Yuasa Racing Honda

Honda Yuasa Racing maintained its lead in all the major Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship standings despite a trying event at Oulton Park last weekend.

The Honda Civics of Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden again handled well around the Cheshire track, but success ballast from previous rounds and low turbo boost levels thanks to the championship’s engine equalisation system made life tricky.

Shedden qualified third after having his best time disallowed for exceeding track limits, while Neal – running with the maximum 45kg of ballast – was eighth quickest.

Reigning champion Shedden tracked the leading MGs relentlessly in race one to finish third and then went one better second time out to grab the runner-up spot.

He was in the jostling lead pack in the reversed-grid encounter, which he started on the BTCC’s soft tyre, before contact with a rival punctured a tyre and sent him to the pits.

“Splitting the MGs was good in race two,” said Shedden, who remained fourth in the drivers’ standings. “The car has been fantastic all weekend and we maximised what we had.

“The Civic was great on the soft tyre again, but it was a crazy reversed-grid race and it didn’t go my way.”
Neal battled his way to sixth in race one and, with no ballast for race two, improved to fourth in the second event.
After a battling drive in the finale, which included a dramatic fight with former champion Colin Turkington, Neal came home fourth to hold a four-point lead over Pirtek Racing Honda driver Andrew Jordan in the title race.

“The weight and the boost made it hard,” said the triple champion. “You’ve got to drag the weight up in four places here.
“When we had the weight out for race two we made a set-up change that didn’t quite work and we didn’t reap the benefits.
“We changed it again for race three and the car came alive. It was awesome. I wanted the race to go on. It felt like the soft tyre was lasting better than the hard!”

As well as holding first and fourth in the drivers’ championship, Honda Yuasa Racing also maintained its lead in the teams’ championship. To complete the set, Honda leads the manufacturers’ standings and Jordan and Pirtek Racing head the independents’ championships.

Honda Yuasa Racing only has a short break now before the BTCC moves to Croft on June 22-23.