Matt Neal questions Subaru gains
Matt Neal has questioned the gains made by Team BMR after the Subaru squad returned to form at Croft.
Having struggled for pace throughout the opening four meetings of the year, the rear-wheel drive Levorgs enjoyed easily their strongest weekend of the year in North Yorkshire – locking out the front row of the grid before Ash Sutton took victory in races one and two.
It came after the team was given a small increase in boost ahead of the weekend which, allied to a number of changes to the car, brought it right back into contention.
The pace of the Subarus would be a topic of conversation throughout the paddock – and amongst fans on social media – with Motorbase team boss David Bartrum saying that the cars appeared to have ‘found religion, been reborn and they’re now supersonic’.
Neal also wasn’t overly impressed, admitting that the upturn in performance raised questions that were hard to answer.
“You go up and down the pit lane and all the teams have been working hard to try and make improvements – and suddenly they’ve been given a second bonus,” he said. “Sorry, but I don’t accept that.
“They’ve gone from being 29th on the grid to suddenly being on the front row whilst Matt Simpson was on pole at Oulton Park and then he is back down in 27th. I know the series is competitive but to me, that is stupid.
“I’ve had messages, texts and emails from people all weekend asking me what is going on, but what am I supposed to say to them?”
Away from the discussions over car performance, Neal bounced back from a difficult qualifying session to pick up three solid points finishes over the course of the weekend – including fourth place in race three after coming out on top of a race long battle with Sutton, Colin Turkington and Andrew Jordan.
It allowed him to move up to third in the standings at the half way stage of the campaign despite the fact that Dynamics is still very much working to develop the new FK8 version of the Civic Type-R.
“It’s been a tough weekend but we salvaged some points from it,” he said. “We’ve come away battered and bruised a bit but with two cars in one piece. I was taking four steps forwards and four back all day – in race two for example we made up places and then got forced out wide and had to do it all again.
“In the final race I didn’t think we stood a chance against the rear-wheel drive cars in the closing laps and we had to fight hard to maintain our position. I knew if one of them got past, they all would – so it wasn’t easy.
“We’re half-way through the season and the car is still a work in progress. The championship is really close at the moment and we’ll be working hard in the upcoming test at Snetterton to prepare for the second half of the year.”