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Halfords Yuasa #racing will travel to the second outing of the 2016 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Donington Park this weekend (16/17 April) as the team to beat and keen to keep its rivals firmly in the rearview mirror.
Local hero Matt Neal tops the Drivers’ table as he returns to the track where 17 years ago he made history as the first Independent driver to win a #btcc race outright in the modern era, enjoying a bumper payday in the process. The three-time title-holder has since added six further successes to his impressive tally around the popular Leicestershire circuit, and was fastest there at the Season Launch test last month.
Defending champion Shedden is tucked in tightly behind Neal in second spot in the standings – ensuring Honda leads the Manufacturers’ chase and Halfords Yuasa #racing the Teams’ classification. The Scot holds the record for Donington victories and is this season in search of his ninth triumph there.
New Halfords Yuasa #racing recruit Neate, meanwhile, is a self-confessed fan of the undulating drivers’ circuit and after returning to #racing at Brands Hatch for the first time in two-and-a-half years, he is eager to make progress up the grid now he has got more to grips with the Honda #civictyper.
“Donington is my home circuit, and it’s been a special place for me ever since I had the pleasure of removing £250,000 from Alan Gow’s pocket there in 1999, so I’m looking forward to going back again. The #btcc is exceptionally close at the moment and everybody still has plenty of room for improvement, so it’s clearly going to be a tough weekend and carrying maximum weight into qualifying will certainly be an adventure! We’ll need to be absolutely on top of our game if we want to repeat our Brands Hatch form, but rest assured that we will be working hard to make sure we come out fighting from the word ‘go’!”
“Brands Hatch was obviously a cracking start to the season, but we’re well aware that our rivals will get their act together pretty quickly, so it will be important to score as many points as we can early doors. Donington is a very different challenge to Brands Indy. Historically, we’ve had a pretty strong run there and personally, it’s one of my favourite circuits on the calendar, with plenty of good memories. It will be tricky with the ballast in qualifying and race one because everybody is just so close on lap times right now, but the target is to leave still sitting first and second in the points table and keep the momentum going.”
“Brands Hatch was never going to be an easy weekend; I felt like we genuinely had some decent pace, but we got caught out by the rain in qualifying and with overtaking so difficult around the Indy Circuit, no matter how quick your car is that conditions the rest of your weekend. With that experience now under my belt, though, I’m feeling very optimistic for Donington. It’s a circuit I’ve always gelled pretty well with and one that naturally lends itself to exciting #racing. I feel comfortable in the Honda #civictyper, so I’ll be doing my utmost to qualify towards the sharp end, score some solid points and push for the podium.”
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