Neal8Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden are hoping to continue Honda Yuasa Racing’s great start to 2013 as the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship heads to Oulton Park this weekend.

Triple champion Neal leads the drivers’ standings by 13 points thanks to two wins and a second last time out at Thruxton, while Gordon ‘Flash’ Shedden has now climbed to fourth after some bad luck earlier in the campaign.
The NGTC Honda Civics have won six of the nine races held so far this season, thanks to Neal, Shedden and Andrew Jordan in the Pirtek Racing-run example.
Honda Yuasa Racing also won all three races at Oulton last year and Neal believes the Civics will be competitive again, so long as he avoids the sort of contact with Shedden that put them both off the road on the last lap two years ago.
“I hope it should be good for us – as long as I can stay away from ‘Flash’!” he said.
“Oulton is a handling circuit and that’s the big strength the Honda has. It’s a very challenging track.”
Neal also believes fellow Honda drivers Shedden and Jordan will be tough to beat.
“Gordon will be up there with less [success ballast] weight and Andrew Jordan seems fast everywhere at the moment,” he added.
“Everything fell my way at Thruxton, which I’ll take and enjoy, but it would be optimistic to expect that to happen again.”
Like his team-mate, reigning champion Shedden is a fan of the Cheshire circuit.
“Oulton Park is a track that has traditionally been very kind to me,” he said. “We have a great chassis in the Honda Civic, and that is precisely what you need when you race there because of all the elevation changes and sweeping corners.”
Shedden also hopes his 18kg of success ballast, compared to 45kg for Neal and 36kg for Jordan, will help him.
“Qualifying will be vital, and I haven’t got that much ballast so I am hopeful that we will be able to start near the front,” said the 34-year-old. “If you can do that, then you are generally out of the trouble that can happen.
“I have shown that when I have a clean weekend without any problems – such as Donington Park – I have got the best pace out there. The problem for me is that I haven’t been able to put together a consistent run of strong races due to circumstances outside of my control.
“I want to win, of course, but it is important for me to get through a clean weekend and bank plenty of points.”
Practice at Oulton is scheduled to start at 9:35 on Saturday, with qualifying set for 15:15. The first race on Sunday will begin at 12:27.