Honda Yuasa Racing’s Matt Neal took victory in race one at Oulton Park, in a race that only saw 13 cars finish.
The drama began before the race even begun with polesitter Jason Plato’s MG6 pushed back off the grid with a suspension problem before the race start. This promoted Matt Neal to pole with West Surrey Racing’s Rob Collard in second. Collard got the better start off the line in the RWD BMW and took the lead into the first corner. Collard’s team mate, Tom Onslow-Cole, was able to overtake Neal’s team mate, Gordon Shedden, before the first corner.
Neal retook the lead from Collard at Lodge on lap four. Tony Gilham bought his overheating Honda Civic into pit lane two laps later. After holding off Onslow-Cole’s challenges for third, Eurotech Racing’s Andrew Jordan overtook Collard at the Island Hairpin to move into second on the seventh lap.
The first and only safety car of the race was bought out two laps later after Onslow-Cole spun off track at Cascades. Onslow-Cole was able to rejoin but the safety car was forced to stay out for an extra lap with Liam Griffin stopping on track at the Hairpin, extending the race distance from 15 to 17 laps.
During the safety car period Plato rejoined to test the suspension repairs. Dave Newsham garaged his ES Racing Vauxhall Vectra with front end damage. Contact between Nick Foster, Frank Wrathall and Aron Smith on lap 14 allowed Triple Eight Race Engineering’s Andy Neate past. Smith was then sent off track on the following lap after contact from Onslow-Cole at Knickerbrook. Wrathall pitted on the same lap as a result of the grass in the radiator from the previous lap’s off.
Adam Morgan was one of two last lap casualties after contact from Nick Foster. Chris James was the other casualty after making heavy contact with the barriers at Druids. After 17 laps Matt Neal was able to hold off Andrew Jordan to take the victory with Rob Collard finishing in third. Only 13 of the 22 cars were classified as finishing on the lead lap, with Morgan and James classified a lap down.
Gordon Shedden, who finished the race in fourth now leads the drivers’ championship with a two-point margin over his team mate Matt Neal, while Jason Plato drops to third. The next race will be held at 14:34 UK time.