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By GAVIN CANEY
, Sports Reporter
Saturday, August 11, 2012
Reigning champion and current leader Matt Neal expects his fierce British Touring Car rival Jason Plato to come out fighting at Snetterton this weekend.
Neal arrives at the Norfolk track - hosting its second Touring Car round after a successful debut last year - just one point ahead of Honda team-mate Gordon Shedden and 29 clear of Plato.
Even though there’s 15 races to go, including three at Snetterton tomorrow, Neal believes the veteran MG driver will be looking to claw back some points as soon as the action gets underway following a mid-season break.
“Jason will come out all guns blazing, I’m sure of it,” Neal told the official Touring Car website.
“The gap back to Andrew Jordan and Robert Collard in equal fourth is about the same again but Jason will no way be looking over his shoulder at them – he’ll just be looking ahead at Gordon and I and thinking ‘they are the two guys I’ve got to beat’.
“In all honesty, I think it’s probably between us three now, even at this early stage in the season. Andrew is young and very determined but he’s going to need all three of us to have a couple of nightmares which is a big ask.
“Jason has been in this situation before and managed to make up the ground and he’ll want that to happen again.”
Plato enjoyed his visit to Norfolk last year as he claimed a race win, along with Shedden and Mat Jackson, in front of a record crowd of more than 30,000.
Attleborough rookie Ollie Jackson, 18th in the 25-driver standings, can expect plenty of home support today and tomorrow as he takes to his home track during his first season in BTCC competition. The 28-year-old is looking forward to what he expects to be some exciting action.
He said: “We’re hoping for top-10 finishes at Snetterton. The changes have really altered the character of the circuit for the better. The new complex has also increased the number of overtaking opportunities which should make for plenty of position swapping.”
Tickets for the action at Snetterton are available from £25, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or visit www.snetterton.co.uk