Honda strikes to take second BTCC race

Motorsport
Honda strikes to take second BTCC race

Honda took a surprise win in the second British Touring Car Championship race at Knockhill, Matt Neal overcoming the Subaru of Jason Plato late on.

Race one winner Plato’s Silverline Subaru BMR Racing Levorg GT led away from pole position and retained his lead through an immediate safety car period, caused by Martin Depper’s Eurosport Honda plunging into a gravel trap.

Plato was immediately challenged by the Team IHG Rewards Club BMW 125i of Jack Goff, the second Subaru of Turkington in third ahead of Tom Ingram’s Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis and championship leader Sam Tordoff in the second BMW. Neal, meanwhile had made up just one place from his grid spot, holding seventh in his Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type-R.

Turkington was quickly past Ingram into third, and then fought a long battle with Goff, which in turn allowed Plato to hold onto his lead, though with the success ballast earned from his race one win unable to build a gap.

Turkington eventually managed to demote Goff, but was immediately put under threat by Tordoff’s BMW, which dived inside at the hairpin and immediately set about challenging Plato for the lead.

By now Neal was up to fifth and threatening the Motorbase Pirtek Ford Focus of Andrew Jordan, his Ford carrying front corner damage from earlier clashes and shedding bits of bodywork around the track.

The Honda was making the soft compound Dunlop tyres, mandatory for at least one race per meeting, work very well, and as Goff and Turkington clashed Neal moved past both into third.

Tordoff managed to get alongside Plato’s Subaru for the lead, but was unable to make the move stick, as the Honda closed in on both, quickly disposing of the BMW and hunting down the leader.

Neal’s task was aided by a sideways moment for Plato at the hairpin, after which he picked up a suspected slow puncture, and as the Honda moved past to a lead it wasn’t to lose Plato dropped back to eventually finish third behind Tordoff.

Meanwhile the third BMW of Rob Collard, which had lost the championship lead after a lacklustre opening race finishing 18th, had a much better time in race two, fighting his way to a highly impressive fifth spot. This then became an outside front-row start spot for the final race of the day scheduled for 17.12, as the reverse grid draw promoted sixth-place finisher Matt Jackson’s Ford Focus to pole position.

Tordoff goes into the final race just three points ahead of Neal, with Collard a further 12 back and 16 ahead of the lead Subaru of Turkington.

Check back to The Car Expert later for the climax of the day’s racing from Knockhill.

A sixth-place finish for Ford's Matt Jackson earned him pole for the final race of the day. Photo: PSP Images

A sixth-place finish for Ford’s Matt Jackson earned him pole for the final race of the day. Photo: PSP Images

 

Andrew Charman

Andrew is the News and Road Test Editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.

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