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Knockhill BTCC: Matt Neal wins as Colin Turkington retires

Matt Neal took his first British Touring Car win of the season after a dramatic opening race at Knockhill in which title leader Colin Turkington failed to finish.

Neal's Honda Civic Tourer started on the soft Dunlop rubber and ran fifth early on.

Poleman Sam Tordoff's MG held the lead at the start from the soft tyre-shod Audi of Rob Austin, with Andrew Jordan and Gordon Shedden close behind.

Shedden dived by Jordan at the hairpin and moved forward to challenge Austin. Slight contact out of Clark's put the Audi off and dropped it briefly to fifth, promoting Shedden to second.

Jordan now came back at Shedden, passing the 2012 champion at Duffus Dip. But slight contact in the middle of the corner forced Shedden into a spin and the Honda estate hit Jordan off as it spun round.

That allowed Neal and Austin through. While Shedden was able to continue in fourth, Jordan retired with broken suspension.

Neal closed the gap to Tordoff and went ahead at Clark's just as the safety car was scrambled for the most significant clash of the race.

Turkington had started ninth after his grid penalty, but strong pace meant he was soon involved in a scrap for sixth with Jason Plato's MG and Mat Jackson's Motorbase Ford Focus.

Plato appeared to back the group up, allowing more and more cars to join the train as Turkington climbed over the back of the MG.

After several attempts, Turkington completed a move on Plato into Duffus Dip, but ran a little wide, meaning Plato and Jackson were both close to the BMW as the drivers reached Scotsman.

Plato turned in and tapped the BMW's rear, just as the MG was hit by Jackson. The MG and Ford continued, but Turkington was spat into the gravel, ending his race and bringing out the safety car.

Before the restart, Tordoff lost power and pulled off. He got going again, but the chance of a good result was gone.

Neal thus held Austin off to take the win once racing resumed, with Shedden completing the podium.

Jackson beat Plato for fourth, while Ciceley Mercedes driver Adam Morgan and the Speedworks Toyota Avensis of Tom Ingram came through to sixth and seventh despite starting 17th and 13th respectively.

Results - 27 laps

Pos Driver               Car                  Time/Gap
 1. Matt Neal            Honda                25m35.539s
 2. Rob Austin           RAR Audi             +0.230s
 3. Gordon Shedden       Honda                +2.049s
 4. Mat Jackson          Motorbase Ford       +2.350s
 5. Jason Plato          MG                   +2.960s
 6. Adam Morgan          Ciceley Mercedes     +3.829s
 7. Tom Ingram           Speedworks Toyota    +7.328s
 8. Aron Smith           BMR VW               +8.340s
 9. Dave Newsham         AmD Ford             +9.231s
10. Nick Foster          WSR BMW              +9.269s
11. Alain Menu           BMR VW               +9.997s
12. Rob Collard          WSR BMW              +10.063s
13. Fabrizio Giovanardi  Motorbase Ford       +11.731s
14. Jack Goff            BMR VW               +11.997s
15. Warren Scott         BMR VW               +16.643s
16. Marc Hynes           MG                   +20.132s
17. Martin Depper        Eurotech Honda       +20.363s
18. Jack Clarke          Motorbase Ford       +20.892s
19. Aiden Moffat         Moffat Chevrolet     +21.197s
20. Glynn Geddie         UA Toyota            +23.836s
21. Simon Belcher        Handy Toyota         +24.979s
22. Chris Stockton       BTC Chevrolet        +25.758s
23. Lea Wood             Houseman Toyota      +29.698s
24. Sam Tordoff          MG                   +38.034s
25. Hunter Abbott        RAR Audi             +38.673s

Retirements

    Ollie Jackson        Welch Proton         22 laps
    Colin Turkington     WSR BMW              17 laps
    Andrew Jordan        Eurotech Honda       14 laps
    Robb Holland         Rotek Audi           7 laps
    Daniel Welch         Welch Proton         7 laps
    James Cole           UA Toyota            4 laps


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