Matt Neal celebrated his title success with victory in the second race of Finals Day for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship but the race was overshadowed by a high-speed accident involving Team Eurotech driver Mike Jordan.
A driveshaft problem for Jason Plato
saw him slow coming out of the final corner, with Jordan swerving to avoid the SEAT and collecting James Thompson in the process. The Honda Integra speared off at high-speed into the barrier on the outside of the circuit, with the race stopped to allow medics to tend to the Mondello Park race winner and help him from the car. Jordan has been airlifted to hospital in a serious condition (see separate story).
Both SEATs were unable to make the restart, with Tom Chilton
also out of contention after spinning off at Becketts on the opening lap. Neal took the restart from pole position after taking the lead at the first start and he led from start-to-finish, despite the best efforts of team-mate Gordon Shedden
to try and get ahead to join the Team Halfords party. Shedden might have been able to find a way past had he not been forced to defend from Fabrizio Giovanardi
who claimed his seventh podium finish of the season with third. The Italian did briefly manage to get ahead of Shedden at the midway point only for the Scot to take the place back – with the top three running nose-to-tail in the closing laps before Neal took the win.
Continuing to battle against his rib injury, Gavin Smith produced a fine drive to finish fourth, having battled for a podium place with his team-mate before dropping back in the closing stages and being forced to defend from a storming Rob Collard, who has spun during the two laps possible of the original race before the red flag came out. Gareth Howell
finished sixth, after running wide at Brooklands on the opening lap, with Tom Ferrier, Paul O'Neill, Jason Hughes
and Darren Turner
completing the top ten. Hughes will start the final round of the year from pole position after the draw for the grid saw Neal pull nine out of the bag.
Colin Turkington was only able to finish eleventh having been forced to start from the back of the field but could well be favourite to finish second in the standings with a chance that Plato won't be able to line up on the grid for the final race. The Team RAC man is currently five points behind Plato with one race remaining.