Neal slips down rankings with Shedden stepping up a gear

First published in Sport

MATT Neal slipped down to fifth in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship standings as team-mate Gordon Shedden shot past him.

Scot Shedden moved up to third on 86 points, just one behind joint leaders Jason Plato and Andrew Jordan after winning the third race at a wet Donington Park.

Team-mates Plato and Sam Tordoff shared the spoils in the opening two contests for MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save at the second championship meeting of the season.

Shedden, of Pershore’s Honda Yuasa Racing, scored the first win in the competition for the new Honda Civic Tourer.

Two-time champion Plato took pole position in qualifying with a lap record and duly delivered in the opening race.

Young gun Tordoff was second and reigning champion Jordan third for Pirtek Racing.

It was a role reversal in race two with Tordoff outdoing Plato and Shedden completing the podium. Neal was fifth.

Shedden won the final race after a superb last corner pass on Colin Turkington and team-mate Neal was third.

In the drivers’ standings, Turkington is three points off the pace in fourth and Neal eight back on 79.

Shedden, who was also sixth in race one, said of his win: “What a fantastic job the team has done.

“As soon as I got into clear air, I couldn’t believe how good the Tourer was.

“With five laps to go, I was six seconds behind and what a last lap. History was made with a first win for the Tourer.”

Pershore-based Rob Austin Racing contended with a difficult weekend as team principal Austin only managed one point for setting the fastest lap.

In race one, Austin’s Exocet Racing Audi was snagged by team-mate Hunter Abbott’s car, which had been shoved into a spin.

Austin was 18th in race two and retired from the finale with big damage after being rammed.

“It’s been a day of despair,” he said. “It means a heap of work needs to be done restoring Sherman (his car) for the next rounds.”

The competition goes to Thruxton on May 3 and 4.

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