Triple Eight MG’s Andy Neate had his best weekend of the season so far at Croft, finishing in the top ten in all three races, but missed out on a opportunity to take his first BTCC win after leading the bulk of the third race.
Neate had started on the front row for the reversed grid race just behind Nick Foster’s WSR BMW. Neate was passed at the start by Rob Collard’s BMW, but retook the position further around the lap and took the lead on lap five, shortly before the safety car was deployed after Liam Griffin’s crash at Tower..
“I think the safety car cost us to be honest,” said Neate to TouringCarTimes. “The safety car pace is just so slow and my tyre temperature just dropped off. I was managing the gap quite comfortably up until that point, then the safety car came in and basically I just pushed and grained the tyres, and then I was just going backwards with two laps to go.”
“JP got past me fair and square, but then Jordan I think it was and (one of the other Hondas) took a bit of a do-or-die lunge into Tower and both knocked me sideways which knocked me from P2 down to ninth.”
“I think if the safety car hadn’t had come out I’d have won the race, it was nice to lead the race, it was a good weekend with three top ten finishes.”
After a tough start to the season, Neate’s 25 points at Croft almost doubles his championship tally and moves him up from 19th to joint 16th in the championship, and helps Triple Eight close the gap by three points to third placed Eurotech Racing in the teams’ championship.