12:20pm Thursday 10th October 2013
MATT Neal and defending champion Gordon Shedden are both in the running for British Touring Car Championship glory this weekend in the final round at Brands Hatch.
Six months of competition comes down to three races on Sunday with five drivers still in contention to lift the title.
Andrew Jordan (Pirtek Racing) is in pole position with three-time champion Neal and Shedden, who both drive for Pershore Industrial Estatebased Honda Yuasa Racing, 34 and 35 points behind respectively.
Colin Turkington and Jason Plato make up the quintet vying for success.
Two podiums at Silverstone brought Neal back into contention, but he is still waiting for medical clearance to contest the triple-header finale after recent surgery to repair a broken finger.
Shedden has fought hard to stay in the mix after a tough start to his championship defence but won the final race at Silverstone last month to keep his hopes alive.
Evesham driver Rob Austin, who sits 10th in his WIX Racing Audi A4, is not in the running and says he won’t get in the way of the five contenders.
He said: “I fully intend showing them the respect they deserve.
“Sure, they might drive a bit differently with what’s at stake and if you show your nose they are probably going to give you more room than normal – they can’t afford to risk a collision.
“But it’s a two-way street. I’d also give them the room as I’d never want to ruin someone’s championship.”
Austin has enjoyed his best season in the BTCC, which saw him win race two at Rockingham in September, and is determined to finish on a high.
The 32-year-old said: “Above all it would just be awesome to finish such an encouraging season on a high and be able to take that momentum with us into the long winter break.”
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