Former triple BTCC-champion Matt Neal says it's good to be back on form after ending a 33-race victory drought at Knockhill.
Neal proved brilliantly to be the man of the moment in a dramatic opening race at Knockhill after steering his Civic Tourer clear of the chaos to record his first victory since Croft last season.
In a race where two of the leading championship contenders (Colin Turkington and Gordon Shedden) both ended in the wars, Neal cleverly made the soft tyre work and passed MG's Sam Tordoff for the lead with a quarter of the race to go.
“The softer tyre was really hard work to begin with in race one, but as the laps counted down, the car really came to me and we were very strong over the second half,” said Neal.
“The car felt fantastic and I was able to keep my nose clean as all manner of chaos kicked off around me!
“When I got into second and saw how far ahead the leader was, I did think it would be a tall order to close the gap, but I kept on pushing and it was awesome to win again and break my Civic Tourer duck. It was about time that Lady Luck smiled upon me!”
Neal then looked in prime position to double his victory in race two, and after fending off Audi's fast starting Rob Austin on the opening lap, a 54th BTCC victory looked increasingly certain until a drive-through penalty thwarted his charge after being found to have jumped the start.
Not fully in agreement with the penalty, Neal then said any chance of repeating a strong result in race three was ultimately ruined.
“We briefly looked to be on-course for a one-two in race two, and I felt a bit hard done-by with the penalty, in truth, because they held us longer than usual before the starting lights and these cars can begin to creep slightly,” he continued. “It was marginal at best.
“That made race three much harder work than it should have been, but focussing on the positives, we're back leading the manufacturers' championship again and well in contention for the teams' title – and it was certainly my best weekend for quite some time!”
Neal's Honda team mate Gordon Shedden, despite facing the wrong-way on two occasions over the weekend, had at one point closed the gap to Turkington to nine-points, but the Scot more or less ended Knockhill where he started, with around a 20-point deficit to the Ulsterman.