Matt Neal may not have had much competition in the Independents Cup this year up until now, and it is ironic that the withdrawal of the one man who could have beaten the lanky Englishman for the title now presents Matt with his toughest challenge yet.

The appearance of David Leslie in the PRO Motorsport Nissan Primera previously peddled by Colin Blair means that Neal has some serious Independant competition for the first time this season.

Neal ahs also been awarded the Michelin Cup for Independents for the second successive year as his current total of 232 points cannot be matched by Leslie who has yet to score.

The Team Dynamics Nissan Primera driver is relishing the challenge that Leslie, who finished second in last years series to Nissan team-mate Laurent Aiello, will provide. Leslie will be driving the Primera that Aiello drove to the championship last year and should immediately be on the pace.

Blair, who was undertaking his first season in the British Touring Car Championship, could not match Neal or the factory teams for pace and spent almost every race sitting in no-mans land between the Super Touring boys and the Class B machines. With no other Independant competition, it was clear that Blair was flogging a dead horse and after a testing crash at Croft which has kept the team out of the last two rounds, the 40 year old has decided to focus on his business commitment s for the rest of the year.