Three-time British Touring Car champion Matt Neal enjoyed his strongest weekend of the season so far after securing a brace of third place finishes at Thruxton.

The Honda driver defied his lowly starting position of 17th to clinch two third place finishes, as well as eighth in race three, to move back up to seventh in the drivers' standings.

Neal denied Team BMW's Tom Oliphant a podium finish by 0.080s in race two after making a last-gasp move for the position at the final corner before negotiating a 'horrible' reverse grid race in third, making it a Team Dynamics 1-3 result following Dan Cammish's first BTCC victory of 2019.

A torrential downpour towards the end of the third race made conditions extremely treacherous on the hard slick tyre after the race had started under dry conditions.

"I don’t mind finishing third when Dan’s on the top step as well," Neal told Crash.net. "I thought I was staring down the wrong end of a shotgun barrel but it’s worked out.

"You’ve got to be a bit lucky, got to have gaps open for you but we hung in there.

"It was a horrible third race. I was relieved to see the flag on that one! I was nervous as hell. I could see Rob getting really out of shape in front of me.

"Adam [Morgan] was being as cautious as I was because he was pushing hard to start with. I was just trying to keep the pressure on and see if I could crack Rob and give us a 1-2 finish.

"But it wasn’t to be, he hung on. I was chuffed to bits with the podium anyway."

With the BTCC heading to Knockhill for the next round in just under a months' time, Neal remains realistic over Honda's prospects around the iconic Scottish circuit, citing BMW as the car to beat around the RWD friendly circuit.

"I think it’s so close you can’t afford to do anything other than give it a million percent in qualifying and then see where you are from there," the Team Dynamics driver continued.

"Knockhill is BMW country so we’ve just got to see how we’ll go and do the best job we can. Dan will be carrying weight and I’ll be carrying a bit of weight.

"It’s the soft tyre and the BMWs can abuse the rear tyres a bit with the soft. We seem to look after the tyre so you never know."

 

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