Halfords Yuasa Racing's Matt Neal says the 2018 FK8 Honda Civic Type R's maiden British Touring Car Championship race victory has shown the Team Dynamics outfit are getting to grips with their new challenger.

The three-time champion had already secured the FK8 Civic Type-R's first ever pole position in the series with a record breaking performance during qualifying before winning the opening Thruxton race ahead of Team BMW's Colin Turkington on Sunday.

Neal further added to his podium tally with a third place finish during the following race before ending the day with eighth in race three.

Having smashed his own pole position lap record around the Thruxton circuit from last season, even Neal admitted he was surprised by the performance of his Team Dynamics prepared Honda.

"I’m a bit disappointed about the last race but the first two were mega. I’m really chuffed with that. It shows we’re learning the car all the time," Neal told Crash.net.

"I didn’t expect what happened in qualifying. That was a surprise to me, how much speed we had then. I was obviously chuffed with the first two podiums.

"I wanted to get the first win for the FK8. It was the 100 year anniversary for Yuasa this weekend so it was good to win for them on Honda’s home soil."

Although Neal still managed to score a further eight points during the reverse grid race in eighth, the 51-year old admitted running in traffic disturbed his Honda Civic Type-R's aero flow, which ultimately thwarted his progress.

"Because of the balance of performance, we’re so reliant on our aero. Dan [Cammish] struggled in traffic in race three even with zero ballast. Me being in traffic in race three was sort of a double whammy with the aero on the car," Neal explained.

"Thruxton highlights that more than any other circuit though. It’s a learning curve for Dan and it was what it was for me.

"We finished with two straight cars, important! Which means we can concentrate on other things than repairing."

Neal's 62nd BTCC victory during the opening race also yielded further significance after the three-time champion dedicated his win to the much loved journalist Henry Hope-Frost, who tragically lost his life in a motorbike accident earlier this year.

"I went the remembrance service for Henry Hope-Frost on Friday. I came here thinking ‘if only I could just win for Henry’. So when we got pole I thought that was pretty special but to follow it up with a win was even better."

 

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