Neal holds his nerve to clinch dramatic race three win
Honda’s Matt Neal claimed his second Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race of the season, with victory in an epic final race at Donington. He just beat home Donington local Andrew Jordan, with Gordon Shedden third.
Youngster Josh Cook looked set to claim a maiden win, but a late incident with Aron Smith, with whom he battled for much of the race, saw both leave the track at the Craners and lose position.
Rob Collard claimed fourth for West Surrey Racing, ahead of Aiden Moffatt, Smith and Cook. Race one winner Jason Plato took eighth place ahead of Martin Depper with Tom Ingram rounding out the top-10.
Polesitter Cook was beaten off the line by Rob Collard’s rear wheel drive BMW, but fought back to take the lead at Robert’s chicane at the end of lap one.
Cook then proceded to pull out a good gap of around a second over Collard with the top two pulling away from a squabbling pack behind, including Neal, Jordan and VW trio Plato, Turkington and Smith.
A clash at Robert’s chicane on lap seven brought out the safety car, erasing the lead Cook and Collard had on the rest of the field. The race resumed a handful of laps later, and Cook and Smith did battle for the lead.
Cook defended well for several laps, but on lap 14 Smith drew alongside heading into the Craners. The pair touched and both ran across the grass, and dropping down the order, Smith somehow avoiding the following cars as he rejoined.
The incident left Neal and Jordan to fight for the win, with Neal prevailing by just 0.157s after 19 incident packed laps.
The next major event at Donington Park is the Donington Historic Festival on 2-4 May. Tickets are available in advance from £20.