Matt Neal will look to extend his advantage at the head of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship this weekend at Thruxton, admitting that the high-speed Hampshire venue is one of the better circuits to head to while carrying maximum ballast.

The VX Racing man secured a win in the opening round of the year at Brands Hatch and followed it up with a brace of third places to head to the quickest circuit on the calendar with a six point lead over Colin Turkington in the championshipo standings.

His early success means Neal will go into the weekend carrying maximum ballast on his Vectra, but the double champion admitted that he would rather have the extra weight onboard and lead the title race than not have it and be playing catch up.

"It was a good start for me at Brands," he said. "The cards fell my way and I had the sort of weekend that Fabrizio usually has - and he had one of mine! I enjoy Thruxton but it's never been a happy hunting ground for me. It suits the Vauxhall though, so I'm looking forward to the weekend, but with a bit of trepidation.

"I'll be carrying maximum ballast, but Thruxton is probably one of the better places to carry it and I'd rather be carrying it than not carrying it. Thruxton is one of the few circuits left in the UK that hasn't been 'sanitised' with a chicane, so it's very much flat out, with lots of opportunity to draft other cars.

"Drafting can really help in qualifying, particularly when you're carrying maximum ballast, but it's quite difficult when you only have three runs."

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