Sandbag Times Patron, Matt Neal scored a fantastic 3rd Place podium finish in the first race at Snetterton in Round 16 of the BTCC 2017.
The weekend had a mixed start when Matt’s 4th place qualifying position came under scrutiny after a ‘ride height’ issue. However, due to a technicallity, Matt regained his grid position and drove a sterling race to put himself and Honda on the podium, despite Matt’s pre-race fears that the Honda wasn’t quick. Team mate, ‘Flash’ Gordon Shedden had an awful qualifying session, ending up 21st on the grid. However, he managed to bring the car home in 13th place, narrowly missing out on an incredible 11th during the last lap.
Race two was not the best for Matt with the start not going to plan. Matt dropped to seventh from third but very quickly had team mate, Gordon Shedden in his rear view mirror. In an outstanding show of teamsmanship, Matt gave way to Flash and sacrificed his own track position for the good of the team. (I feel other motor racing teams could learn from that example). Matt, brought the car home in 9th but his selflessness meant Flash would start 2nd in the final race.
Race three started brilliantly for Matt, very quickly getting the Honda to 6th with some very skilled driving, however, it wasn’t to last as Matt left the track in lap 8 after a titanic tustle and ended up in the barrier, so ending his weekend. Flash took a memorable win after taking the lead from Andrew Jordan, who developed an issue with the BMW.
Although Matt had a DNF in the last race, the Snetterton rounds, although not perfect and driving a car with one or two little struggles, proved to be a test of drivers and teams. The team of the day for me was Team Honda with Matt and Flash showing how it should be done. Well done both and the team.