Top 10 BTCC Drivers of the Year 2012:
Honda Yuasa Racing
Honda Civic (NGTC)
Championship points – Overall/Independents:
Championship position – Overall/Independents:
The first big surprise of your top ten countdown is the fact that outgoing champion Matt Neal finds himself only seventh on the Driver of the Year poll – despite ending the season second in the standings to Honda team-mate Gordon Shedden.
Neal started the defence of his title with a victory at Brands Hatch, making him the first driver to win with an NGTC-spec car in the process, and four podium finishes from the first six races of the year showed he wasn't going to give up his crown without a fight.
Four of Neal's five wins would come in the opening half of the season and despite Honda seemingly being one of the hardest hit by the boost regulations in place, the triple champion continued to grind out results to keep himself in the mix right up to the penultimate meeting of the season – when a weekend to forget at Silverstone saw him fail to score a single point.
That weekend effectively ended his title challenge, although a hat-trick of podium finishes – including a win – on Finals Day enabled him to wrap up second in the standings and helped Honda to win both the manufacturers and teams titles.
Although disappointed to miss out on the title himself, Neal was also genuinely pleased to see Shedden emerge victorious – but he'll still hope to wrestle back the crown in 2013 and become only the second four-time champion in series history.
Crash.net's BTCC Driver of the Year:
8. Rob Collard
9. Aron Smith
10. Tom Onslow-Cole