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Neal: We’ve got a hand tied behind our back
29 April 2011
Honda duo Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden are expecting a tough weekend at Thruxton after Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship bosses elected to reduce the turbo boost allowed for cars running NGTC-spec engines ahead of the third round of the year.
TOCA revealed following the Donington Park weekend that the maximum boost for the turbo-powered cars is to be reduced by 0.1 bar, based on the figure recorded by each car on the TOCA Performance Monitoring Device during the Donington weekend.
While that reduction applies across the field, Honda says it will make things tough for the team given the data was recorded after qualifying when the Civics ran at lower boost.
The reduced boost is set to be just one step into the unknown for the team given the unique challenge presented by the high-speed Hampshire circuit, with Neal admitting that there was plenty of work to do on set-up when practice gets underway.
“Thruxton is always tough on tyres and that means it is going to be a journey into the unknown,” he said. “We are going there with one arm tied behind our back because of the rule changes and there is a lot of work to do on the set-up. It's so hard to know what to predict from the three rounds but we know that the Civic has a great chassis, so that is going to help us.
“The organisers have changed the rules to peg back our two-litre turbocharged engine, which seems to me like it is a rule that has singled us out to penalise us more than anyone else. I just can't understand it. It appears that we have been held back because we had been doing such good job so far this season, which isn't fair.”
Team-mate Gordon Shedden agreed that the change in boost would work against the team, but said he was heading to Thruxton planning to give his all.
“I am confused about how they have come to this decision to peg back the turbo cars but we have just go to get on with our jobs and perform to our maximum,” he said. “We are going to be handicapped because of this, but we will be giving it everything we have got.
“I love Thruxton because it's a very fast circuit and you have to be brave but you also have to be clever in the way that you use the tyres and how you preserve the rubber. It means there is a lot to think about as a driver and it's a challenge. We are going to be fighting an uphill battle now that the rules have been altered but there certainly will not be a lack of effort from the Honda Racing Team.”
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