Matt Neal admits there is 'still a long way to go' in the fight for the 2009 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship title despite seeing his hopes to take a blow at Snetterton.
Neal went into the weekend lying second to Colin Turkington in the standings and was keen to try and bring down the 25 point gap to the Team RAC man ahead.
The double champion qualified in ninth place but was then in the wars at Riches on the opening lap when he suffered a spin and dropped down the order. Despite an off at the Esses later in the race, Neal was able to finish ninth and pick up two points.
The second race saw Neal fail to score after he jumped the start, with the resultant drive-through penalty leaving him down in 14th, but things finally came good in race three – with Neal storming through to take the flag in fourth.
That became third when James Nash was excluded from the results for his incident with Rob Collard, but – having been outscored by both Turkington and Fabrizio Gioavanardi in all three races – Neal has now dropped to third in the standings and is some 46 points away from the lead.
“If only I had the car I had in the third race all weekend,” he reflected. “We changed the engine after the second race and it was a completely different car. I equalled my qualifying time on the penultimate lap of the third race, even with a damaged car and worn tyres, It was frustrating then, as I thought I could have had a win, but just got bottled up behind Fabrizio and I didn't want to try anything stupid and hang him out.
“The third race was a little consolation but this weekend hasn't been good for our points haul, but there are four more rounds and plenty of points available, still a long way to go.”