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Silverstone BTCC: Matt Neal denies Rob Huff race three win

Matt Neal wins BTCC Silverstone 2017

Matt Neal claimed his second British Touring Car Championship victory of the 2017 season ahead of returnee Rob Huff in a frenetic third race at Silverstone.

Neal started the race from 12th and only led five laps, but stole first place from long-time leader Huff and eased home from there.

Power Maxed Racing driver Huff got the jump on reversed grid polesitter Dave Newsham off the line to snatch the lead into Copse and pulled out an initial gap in his Vauxhall Astra.

His lead was wiped out by a safety car called for an incident that accounted for championship challenger Colin Turkington.

WSR driver Turkington had been nestled in the midfield group, but was involved in an incident at Brooklands on the opening lap and dropped to 21st.

Things only got worse for Turkington, as his chances of recovering were all but ended a lap later when he was caught up in a clash.

Josh Cook and Jason Plato got together in front and, with the pack delayed, Turkington could not react quickly enough to avoid Stephen Jelley and slammed into the back of the Ford Focus.

Turkington recovered his BMW 125i M Sport to the pits but, despite the ensuing safety car slowing the pack up, lost a lap and dropped to 25th in the order and could only recover to 22nd at the finish.

Huff got away well on the restart but Newsham was caught out by race one winner Tom Ingram, who slithered up the inside of the BTC Racing Chevrolet Cruze to grab second.

Speedworks Motorsport driver Ingram then set about pressing Huff for the lead.

Things came to a head on lap 14 of the new 25-lap distance, with Huff easing Ingram out onto the grass after the Toyota got a better exit off Copse.

Ingram kept his foot in but Huff stuck to the inside line approaching Becketts, with Ingram forced to take to the grass before skating over the apex at the corner.

Huff was delayed but held onto the lead from Adam Morgan, while Ingram dropped behind Neal - who had picked his way through the order at the start - and Newsham.

Neal then dispatched Morgan on the Wellington Straight to move into second, and himself set about trying to prise the lead away from Huff.

The pressure finally told on lap 21 as Neal got a better exit off Copse and drew alongside Huff on the run to Maggotts.

Unwilling to take a similar risk to the one he took with Ingram, Huff gave Neal room and allowed the Honda driver through before Becketts.

Neal scampered away before backing off in the closing laps, crossing the line 0.728 seconds ahead of a delighted Huff and Newsham, who passed Morgan in the closing laps to finish third.

Ingram and Austin recovered to finish fourth and fifth in their respective Toyota Avensis, with Morgan sixth and the second BTC Racing Chevrolet Cruze of Chris Smiley seventh.

Andrew Jordan was eighth in his WSR BMW, while race two winner Jack Goff and the Motorbase Ford Focus of Mat Jackson completed the top 10.

While the race was a disaster for Turkington, championship leader Ash Sutton produced a stellar display to advance from the back of the grid to finish 11th.

Team BMR driver Sutton had been sent to the back of the grid for a clash with Turkington in race two, but avoided the early incident and picked his way through the field thereafter to pick up five points.

He now has a 10-point lead in the drivers' standings.

Race three result

1Matt NealDynamics/HondaHonda2528m15.455s
2Rob HuffPower Maxed RacingVauxhall250.728s
3Dave NewshamBTC RacingChevrolet250.997s
4Tom IngramSpeedworks MotorsportToyota251.434s
5Rob AustinHandy MotorsportToyota251.865s
6Adam MorganCiceley RacingMercedes253.006s
7Chris SmileyBTC RacingChevrolet253.626s
8Andrew JordanWSRBMW253.761s
9Jack GoffEurotech RacingHonda255.568s
10Mat JacksonMotorbaseFord256.457s
11Ash SuttonTeam BMRSubaru256.727s
12Michael EppsTeam HardVolkswagen258.454s
13Ant Whorton-EalesAmD TuningAudi259.599s
14Aiden MoffatLaser Tools RacingMercedes2510.546s
15James ColeTeam BMRSubaru2510.913s
16Martin DepperMotorbaseFord2511.114s
17Aron Taylor-SmithTriple Eight/MGMG2511.810s
18Senna ProctorPower Maxed RacingVauxhall2512.753s
19Brett SmithEurotech RacingHonda2514.667s
20Matt SimpsonDynamics/HondaHonda2514.889s
21Gordon SheddenDynamics/HondaHonda2514.914s
22Colin TurkingtonWSRBMW241 Lap
-Josh CookTriple Eight/MGMG14Retirement
-Jake HillTeam HardVolkswagen14Retirement
-Rory ButcherMotorbaseFord11Retirement
-Josh PriceTeam BMRSubaru2Retirement
-Jason PlatoTeam BMRSubaru1Retirement
-Stephen JelleyTeam Parker RacingFord1Retirement
-Ollie JacksonAmD TuningAudi1Retirement
-Stewart LinesMaximum MotorsportFord0Retirement

Drivers' standings

1Ash Sutton338
2Colin Turkington328
3Gordon Shedden272
4Tom Ingram271
5Rob Collard256
6Jack Goff215
7Matt Neal214
8Andrew Jordan200
9Adam Morgan180
10Mat Jackson175
11Jason Plato146
12Rob Austin139
13Dave Newsham100
14Aiden Moffat86
15James Cole79
16Tom Chilton79
17Josh Cook75
18Michael Epps60
19Jake Hill57
20Senna Proctor51
21Ollie Jackson39
22Chris Smiley35
23Ant Whorton-Eales34
24Matt Simpson27
25Rob Huff26
26Jeff Smith25
27Aron Taylor-Smith22
28Martin Depper21
29Rory Butcher16
30Josh Price9
31Brett Smith8
32Luke Davenport6
33Daniel Lloyd6
34Stephen Jelley2

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