Matt Neal has retained a slender lead in the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship standings despite admitting he was 'shell-shocked' following the Oulton Park race weekend.
At a circuit where he conceded that title rival Colin Turkington may have an edge, and in blistering hot conditions, Neal saw Turkington move ahead in the points after winning the opening two races, only to reclaim top spot in the standings with a run to the podium in the final race of the day.
Neal had earlier started the first race from tenth on the grid but was able to battle through to seventh in the opening race and he then found himself in a race long battle with Jason Plato through race two – taking fourth place after failing to find a way past the Racing Silverline Chevrolet.
Neal ran fourth in the opening laps of race three, but then moved up a place when he tipped Jonathan Adam into a spin at the Island Hairpin on lap four. That promoted the Vauxhall man into a podium position and a strong defensive performance in the closing laps allowed him to keep a charging Rob Collard behind.
With Turkington failing to score in the final race, Neal moved back ahead in the standings and will head to Croft with a slender two point advantage in the standings.
“We knew this was going to suit the BMWs, so it's been a tough weekend,” he said. “The car feels fine, but we just didn't have anything more at this track. Croft will also suit the BMWs, but we'll still be taking the fight to them.”
“I actually feel a bit shell-shocked. I seem to have been in the middle of it all day and certainly the racing is becoming very intense. We've been on the back foot a bit here and these have been three very tough races. We've just got to keep grinding out the results wherever possible.”