Matt Neal says he is 'determined but relaxed' going into the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season finale at Brands Hatch as he looks to overturn a 17 point deficit in the race for the title.
Double champion Neal, the most experienced of the four drivers vying for the title, lies second in the standings going into Finals Day after a strong season at the wheel of his Honda Racing Civic – which has included five victories.
While he sits 17 points behind Jason Plato
going into the weekend, the fact that a maximum of 52 points is still up for grabs means the title race is still very much to play for and Neal insisted he was ready to pounce on any misfortune Plato may suffer.
“I'm surprisingly relaxed about it, but at the same time I'm very determined to give it my best shot,” he said. “I don't have the same nerves as I did when I first went into it with a chance, so I sort of know what to expect but it's just as exciting as ever. I want it just as much as I did the first time.
“Jason's got a lead on the rest of us so it's going to need him to have a bit of a problem and it could happen – we've all had at least one bad day this year. But even if that happens we still need to score a big chunk of points.”
Admitting he would rather be the hunter than the hunted, Neal added that he was confident that the Civic would be the car to have around the tight and twisty Indy circuit.
“The Civic has really good handling and that is exactly what I am going to need at Brands Hatch,” he said. “It is a tight and twisty circuit where the cars always stay close together and everyone's going to be looking for the smallest edge. The Civic will be the perfect car in those conditions, and the rest is up to me. I will be giving it everything.”