Veteran driver claims first 2018 victory, while Adam Morgan takes title lead

Triple British Touring car champion Matt Neal claimed the first victory for the new-shape Honda Civic Type R with a dominant drive in the opening race at Thruxton.

But the big winner of the weekend was Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes racer Adam Morgan, who scored victory in the reverse grid final race to claim the championship lead after a tough weekend for rival Tom Ingram.

Power Maxed Vauxhall Astra racer Josh Cook also had a strong weekend, putting in a charging drive in the second race to claim his second victory in as many meetings.

Here’s what else we learned from Sunday’s three races at the ultra-fast Hampshire circuit.

Neal makes his experience count

The BTCC’s young guns have dominated in 2018 so far, but 51-year-old Neal struck back in style at Thruxton. 

After a mixed start to the season with the new Civic Type R, the Team Dynamics-run works Honda squad showed much-improved form, with Neal claiming a dominant pole position and then resisting intense pressure from BMW driver Colin Turkington in the opener for his 62nd career win.

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

“I had a fantastic start to grab the lead through the opening bends and, from there, the Civic Type R’s strengths through the quick corners meant no one could get close to me,” said Neal.

Running full ballast in race two hampered Neal, but he held on well to claim third place, then added eighth in the final race of the day. 

Inside the 2018 Honda Civic Type R BTCC racing car

Neal’s teammate, Dan Cammish, had a strong start to the weekend, taking third in the opener, but a clash knocked him down the order in race two. He recovered to 13th in the finale.

Cook continues Vauxhall’s charge

Having taken ninth place in the opener, Cook had to work hard for his race two win. But he flew up through the order, before overhauling Neal and race leader Turkington with bold moves at the chicane to hit the front.

Following Cook’s win at Donington Park and teammate Senna Proctor’s victory in the Brands Hatch opener, the Power Maxed Vauxhall team now leads the manufacturers’ points. 

“Winning at Donington Park was enjoyable, but to do it from the middle of the pack was even better,” said Cook.

Morgan ends on top — again

For the second meeting in a row, Morgan claimed glory in the reverse grid final race. He was gifted pole in the reverse grid draw and led all the way, despite the best efforts of Proctor. 

The victory handed Morgan the championship lead by one point from Cook.

Ingram’s record finish

Speedworks Toyota driver Ingram, who led the points coming into the event, had a tough weekend, dropping out of the opener after a clash and had to work his way back up the order. He eventually took seventh in race three and is now third in the points, 11 behind Morgan.

Some consolation for Ingram came with his fastest lap in the final race — which, at 1m 10.060secs, was also a new lap record. Yvan Muller’s lap record had stood since 2002, but Ingram was one of several drivers to eclipse it during the three races.

Next meeting: Oulton Park, 9-10 June

Read more

Donington Park: Ingram extends title lead

Brands Hatch: Goff, Proctor and Ingram take wins

Inside the 2018 Honda Civic Type R BTCC racing car

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week