BTCC title chase gets personal as rivals Neal and Plato square up
With two rounds to go in the 2011 BTCC championship the drivers are preparing for a heated finale both on and off the tarmac.
The last meeting at Rockingham was a great show of brilliant driving, as well as how heated things can get between Jason Plato and Matt Neal – who had some heated words after qualifying on Saturday.
With the top three drivers closer in the points than they may like, Honda drivers Matt Neal (204 points) and Gordon Shedden (204 points) and TV's Jason Plato (180 points) are all in line to take the season to the wire. The final two rounds are at Brands Hatch on 2 October and Silverstone two weeks later.
While confident of success at Brands Hatch, Plato is a touch worried about what'll happen to the naturally aspirated cars at the season's final race at Silverstone: "I think we can be strong again at Brands Hatch. I still don't see how we'll be able to match the turbocharged cars at Silverstone. We'll of course give it everything but it's really for the Honda drivers to lose now."
As well as the wonderfully close finish that we all want to see, we'll be paying close attention to what happens off the track especially after this wee scuffle between joint-championship leader Matt Neal and TV's Jason Plato after Saturday's qualifying at Rockingham.
It seems their rivalry remains strong and on this occasion it ended up with a little bit of pushing and shoving – though calling a mild shove a 'physical attack' might be a little strong.
Both drivers were fined £1,000, given three penalty points on their race licenses and each has a six-place grid penalty (suspended until next season) for the on (and off) track incidents.
If you can't get to Brands and Silverstone for the final two rounds, tune in to ITV4 for this season's no doubt thrilling conclusion.