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Ace Neal clings on to championship lead
10:26am Thursday 29th August 2013 in Sport
MATT Neal saw his lead at the top of the British Touring Car Championship standings sliced to just six points after a weekend of fluctuating results at Knockhill.
Andrew Jordan is breathing down the neck of the three-time champion from Droitwich after he beat him into second place in convincing fashion to win the third round in Scotland.
Colin Turkington also fired himself further into championship contention after taking two stunning wins before a technical infringement in race three saw the Ulsterman disqualified.
The 31-year-old won the opener after making his way by the Audi of pole-sitter Rob Austin in the early running.
The eBay Motors racer subsequently streaked away from the chasing pack to claim his first BTCC victory at the Scottish circuit and he doubled up in race two.
Turkington’s second win was far more routine as he cruised to an impressive lights-to-flag victory ahead of Austin and local hero Gordon Shedden.
Scotsman Shedden, Neal’s team-mate at Honda Yuasa, seemed set to build on his big points haul in race three but he faced unfortunate late heartache.
While running in fifth place the reigning champion’s Honda Civic caught fire due to an engine failure.
He wasn’t the only championship contender to endure disappointment, however, as Turkington was excluded from fourth place when his car was found to have exceeded the maximum boost allowance.
Neal also experienced frustration in Scotland, with a fifth place in the second race and runners-up in the third.
“I think that every point you get is vital whether it’s a fifth place, a seventh or the podium that we picked up in race three,” said Neal.
“You’ve just got to grab what you can because the competition is pretty tough and it’s not easy out there.
“I’d had a tough weekend so it was a relief to see the podium again.”
Neal will be hoping to re-take the initiative at Rockingham on September 15.
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