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Happy Fathers Day for Steve as Neal wins race two
19 June 2005
Matt Neal gave his father - and team boss - Steve the perfect Fathers Day present by taking his fifth win of the season in race two at Oulton Park.
The Team Halfords man came home narrowly ahead of Yvan Muller with Dan Eaves securing another podium finish in his Honda Integra.
With Ian Curley missing from the grid with further engine trouble and James Kaye losing a wheel on his out lap from the pits, twelve cars took the start with pole man Jason Plato leading the field into Old Hall for the first time. Behind the SEAT, Neal had maintained his second place, although Muller had made a superb start to launch his Astra Sport Hatch ahead of Eaves into third.
For the opening laps the Honda was all over the back of the Astra while behind them battle was raging for fifth place. On lap four, Rob Collard in the WSR MG took the position from Gavin Smith on the run over the line and into Old Hall and just a lap later Tom Chilton pulled the same move on the VX Racing man to go sixth.
That was all forgotten within a lap as the focus switched to the fight for first with Neal closing onto the tail of Plato in the quest for victory. The Team Halfords man made his move going into Lodge on lap six as he tried to go round the outside of the yellow SEAT with the two then running side-by-side along the start finish straight into Old Hall.
With Neal on the outside, Plato was looking to hold onto the position but the Honda wasn't to be put off with Matt sweeping ahead on the run to Cascades. However Plato wasn't able to fight back as Muller, who had closed in as the duo battled for position, tagged the back of the SEAT through Cascades and put Plato off the track and into the gravel, although Plato was able to rejoin at the rear of the field.
With Gavin Smith tipped into a spin by team-mate Colin Turkington at Island Bend and also dropping to the back, the fight for tenth place between the Vauxhall man and Plato became the only real battle on the track with the rest of the field holding position to the finish.
Smith held the place with Plato trying to find a way past at Old Hall for two successive laps before making it third time lucky to take the place on lap 13 and secure the pole slot for the third race alongside the Lexus of Richie Williams.
Out front though it was another win for Neal, with Muller and Eaves on the podium and Collard securing fourth.
Race three will be live in front of the
cameras and should be more than interesting as the scorching weather conditions of the morning have been replaced by heavy rain which has forced the final Porsche Carrera Cup of the day to be red-flagged due to the conditions. This one should be interesting...
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