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Neal on pole on mixed day for Honda
2 April 2011
Matt Neal took the first pole position of the 2011 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season at Brands Hatch although it was a day of contrasting emotions within the Honda Racing garage.
While Neal dominated qualifying ahead of the team's first race with a turbo-powered NGTC engine, team-mate Gordon Shedden was forced to sit out the session after a high-speed accident at Paddock Hill Bend in the first free practice session left his car severely damaged and will lead to a busy night for the team as it attempts to try and get him out for race day.
Andrew Jordan will join Neal on the front row of the grid having earlier paced the two free practice sessions, but he was more than two-tenths of a second away from the pole-sitter in his Pirtek Racing Vectra.
Champion Jason Plato will start the defence of his title from third in the first of the non-turbo cars with James Nash's Vectra alongside him on row two, with Alex MacDowall and Mat Jackson on row three.
Tom Chilton starts from seventh despite losing his times during the session for failing the ride height test, while Tom Boardman, Paul O'Neill and Andy Neate round out the top ten.
Elsewhere, the BMW runners struggled for pace with Rob Collard the quickest down in twelfth place while those teams running the new NGTC machines found themselves towards the back of the field. Frank Wrathall starts 20th in his Dynojet Toyota despite a troubled day behind the wheel of his new car while Tony Hughes was able to spend more time on track but starts 21st – with the teams ruing a lack of time with their new machines prior to the season opener.
Dave Pinkney meanwhile was unable to hit the track as the Rob Austin Racing team continues to build up his new Audi A4.
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