Tag Archives: Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship


…There is now little less than a week to go before the UK’s premier motor racing championship – the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – resumes its 2012 season at the Snetterton circuit in Norfolk (Sat 11/Sun 12 August), thereby continuing the country’s sizzling summer of sport.

Like the finalists in an Olympic sprint, the BTCC’s star drivers will each want to be fastest out of the blocks as they return to action following a lengthy seven-week break in their calendar.
Snetterton’s BTCC event makes for the Anglia region’s biggest motor racing fixture of the year and it is little wonder that, with swift access from the A11 dual carriageway, a bumper crowd is anticipated. Traditional scorching hot weather also adds to the appeal for fans and families looking to make a carnival weekend of it with their tents and barbeques.
Honda team-mates Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden will arrive at Snetterton striving to maintain their championship lead ahead of their arch MG rival Jason Plato. Memorably 12 months ago the BTCC’s first race on Snetterton’s new ‘300’ track immediately got off to a controversial start when Neal was sent spinning at 120mph after an opening bend clash with Plato…
Meanwhile Attleborough’s Ollie Jackson will be hoping to shine in front of his home crowd in his AmD Tuning.com VW Golf but, with nine different car makes represented on the grid and 11 different drivers having achieved podium results in the season’s opening half, predicting who will come out on top at Snetterton is near impossible.
And while the headlining BTCC will be in race action three times on the Sunday (12 August), there are a further nine races for the supporting Renault Clio Cup, Porsche Carrera Cup GB, Ginetta Junior Championship and Ginetta GT Supercup categories in store for the visiting public during the weekend.


Matt Neal, Gordon Shedden and Jason Plato shared the wins in today’s three Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races at Croft Circuit which were full of incident, drama and controversy. It is Neal who tonight leaves the North Yorkshire venue leading the standings by just a point from Honda team-mate Shedden as the championship enters a lengthy summer break before resuming at Norfolk’s Snetterton circuit on the weekend of 11/12 August.
Worcestershire’s Neal set the fastest time in Saturday’s qualifying session to take pole position for the first of today’s races in his Honda Yuasa Racing Team Civic. He dropped to third at the start but fought back to win ahead of eBay Motors BMW driver Robert Collard and Shedden and take over at the top of the points table.
Fife’s Shedden then responded with victory in the second race to re-claim the championship lead. Neal took the runners-up spot to complete a 1-2 result for Honda – it was also the seventh win in a row for the Team Dynamics-prepared factory Civics. Behind, Rob Austin took his first podium result of the season in third in his Rob Austin Racing Audi A4.
Having missed the first race because of mechanical problems with his car, Oxford’s Plato, who hails from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, won race three to end a six-year wins drought in front of his ‘home crowd’. Tom Onslow-Cole’s eBay Motors BMW and Andrew Jordan’s Pirtek Racing Honda Civic were second and third.
Fourth place for Neal was enough to move him back ahead in the title race from Shedden who finished the race in sixth. Plato remains third in the standings, some 29 points – 20 are awarded per race win – adrift of Neal.
Neal’s win today was his fourth of the season and the reigning Champion commented: “I’m very pleased but all it does is give me the bragging rights for the next seven weeks before we get back to business. Plus maximum success ballast in my car for Snetterton! Our car, the Civic, is in a class of its own under braking and through the corners but we need to test during the break because Jason and Triple Eight Race Engineering who run the MG will come out all guns blazing in the second half of the season.”

Dalgety Bay’s Shedden, now with an unrivalled six wins in 2012, said: “I don’t mind being second at this stage – the lead is going to keep on changing hands all the way until Finals Day in October. It’s great to get another win but it’s all about scoring as well as possible in every race. I think I’ve achieved that today so job done.”

Double Champion Plato’s win was his second this year and he added: “Today’s win was crucial in making sure we keep the Hondas in sight but, as a team, we are still learning about the MG6. It’s important we manage our expectations but we have a few test days planned for the break and that will enable me to get more comfortable with the car and for the engineers to work their magic. I think we can still find another second per lap.”
Meanwhile Honda/Dynamics and the Honda Yuasa Racing Team have significantly increased their respective leads in the Manufacturers/Constructors and HiQ Teams championships. Jordan continues to lead the Independent Drivers Trophy but only just from Collard. eBay Motors has leapt from third to first in the Independent Teams Trophy ahead of Pirtek Racing which is just two points behind.
Elsewhere officials punished a number of drivers for on-track incidents during the weekend. Ollie Jackson received two penalty points on his competition licence and an official reprimand following an incident in race one involving Tony Gilham. Jackson was then handed the same penalty again after race three for an incident involving Chris James. Officials also took action after reviewing incidents in the third race at Oulton Park two weeks ago. Dave Newsham received two penalty points on his licence and an official reprimand for an incident involving Daniel Welch. Robert Collard was similarly punished for an incident involving Andrew Jordan and also received a verbal warning for a separate incident involving Mat Jackson. Will Bratt and Adam Morgan were given verbal warnings for an incident between them.


Matt Neal continued his recent strong form with pole position in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship’s qualifying session at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire.
Reigning Champion Neal, second in the standings, set a best lap of 1m24.900s in his Honda Yuasa Racing Team Civic to grab pole spot on the starting grid for the first of tomorrow’s three races.
The Civics of Pirtek Racing privateer Andrew Jordan and Neal’s team-mate Gordon Shedden, the current championship leader, were second and third fastest as Hondas filled the top three spots.
Frank Wrathall’s Dynojet Toyota Avensis was fourth ahead of Jason Plato’s MG KX Momentum Racing MG6 and Robert Collard’s eBay Motors BMW which just won the battle of the rear-wheel-drive cars as it pipped by Rob Austin’s RAR Audi A4 to sixth by 0.039s.

Plato, who’d set the fastest time of the day in an earlier practice session, was denied the opportunity of going for pole late on when his car stopped with an electrical problem.

Worcestershire’s Neal, who took a victory double at Oulton Park a fortnight ago and also won twice at Croft 12 months ago, commented: “I’m delighted. We played about a lot with tyres in the two practice sessions while working on general set-up and this is the result. But we’ve also seen in the practice sessions that this circuit is very hard on tyres and that will play a factor tomorrow…”
Staffordshire’s Jordan, chasing his first win of 2012 – he achieved his maiden BTCC race victory at Croft two years ago – was satisfied with second. He said: “I put in a very good first lap but that was the ‘banker’ lap done. The next time I went out on track I was going for Matt’s pole but needed to duck around a few slower cars and right at the end there were waved yellow caution flags for the MG at the side of track. I’m still happy, though.”
Fife’s Shedden, who has won an unrivalled five times from the 12 races so far this season, added: “My car’s carrying maximum success ballast, of course, and even though it’s only nine kilos more than Matt’s it does hurt a lot around this particular circuit. I could probably have got a bit more out of the car on my final run but third is OK.”