- Cammish recovers to just seven points off title lead
- Stewards reduce Neal’s win to second place
- Honda takes two manufacturers awards
Honda British Touring Car Championship drivers Dan Cammish and Matt Neal triumphed as their title rivals faltered in the latest races at Croft in Yorkshire on 11th October. Cammish recovered from a poor qualifying session at a circuit that favours his rear-wheel-drive championship rivals to take second in the final race and slash his points deficit, while Neal took his first race win since July 2018, only to be demoted to second by the stewards.
Saturday practice proved tough for the Halfords Yuasa Racing team with Dan Cammish’s Honda Civic Type R requiring a gearbox change between sessions. He was then one of many drivers to fall foul of track limits regulations during qualifying on a damp track, losing a potential fastest time to line up 14th on the grid. Matt Neal also suffered from the ruling but recovered to secure eighth grid spot.
Carrying 48kg of success ballast from the previous meeting Cammish knew that race one would be tough in the middle of the pack, but he made a good start and then both he and his team-mate gained places avoiding the spinning car of championship leader Ashley Sutton. Neither Honda was able to stop the recovering Sutton from re-passing them, but Neal finished seventh and Cammish 10th to bank useful championship points.
Race 2 transformed Honda fortunes, despite Cammish being delayed by a turn one incident that ended title rival Colin Turkington’s race in a gravel trap. Neal snatched fourth in the chaos, and this became third as an overtaking move by Sutton punctured his car’s tyre.
Neal quickly moved past Jake Hill into second and closed on leader Josh Cook. On the last lap the two cars made contact, Cook’s car snapping sideways and Neal going past into what appeared to be his first win in more than two years. But stewards penalised the passing move and dropped the Halfords Yuasa Racing car back to second place.
With his Honda now relieved of success ballast, Cammish fought his way from 10th to fifth at the chequered flag, and was then helped out by his team-mate – Neal drew six for the reversed grid final race and put Cammish on the front row, with his closest title rivals at the back of the grid.
Cammish was beaten away at the start of the final race by Tom Ingram, who then deprived Tom Chilton of the lead. Cammish hunted down Chilton and snatched second with an opportunistic move. He then caught leader Ingram with a lap to go and only just failed to find a way past.
Neal kept a train of cars behind him for the entire race to finish fourth, Sutton failing by just 19 thousandths of a second to pass the Honda on the finish line. All of which won Honda its second manufacturer award of the day and propelled Cammish into second place in the drivers championship, only seven points behind Sutton.
The BTCC now heads to Snetterton, a track considered more friendly to the front-wheel-drive Hondas, for the penultimate three races in the 2020 championship on 25th October.
Dan Cammish – Halfords Yuasa Racing Driver
“Such a rollercoaster weekend, it can change so fast, you come here thinking you are going to have a tough day and you end up having a pretty strong one. My qualifying was pretty poor but I brought it back through the field. We’ve had a good haul of points so I’m pretty happy with my day, though disappointed with second in race 3 as I thought I could have won it.”
Matt Neal – Halfords Yuasa Racing Driver and Team Dynamics Director
“It was a shame to lose the race 2 win but I wasn’t really surprised. Josh’s car was much heavier and I got a good run on him on the last lap – I went for the inside and then as I was committed he went for the apex and we touched.
Despite that we have had a really good day with manufacturer wins for Honda and Dan closing in on the points lead – roll on Snetterton!”
BTCC Drivers’ Championship, after 21 rounds
1. Ashley Sutton 261 points
2. Dan Cammish 254 points
3. Colin Turkngton 249 points
8. Matt Neal 160 points
BTCC Manufacturers’ Championship, after 21 rounds
1. BMW 599 points
2. Honda 566 points
3. Toyota 295 points
BTCC Teams’ Championship, after 21 rounds
1. Team BMW 447 points
2. Halfords Yuasa Racing 406 points
3. Laser Tools Racing 334 points
* all points provisional pending judicial decisions
Rounds 22-24 of the British Touring Car Championship are scheduled to take place at Snetterton, Norfolk, on Sunday 25th October.
Photos by Jakob Ebrey Photography – click on image for high-res version, copyright free for editorial use only