DROITWICH’S Matt Neal came through a difficult weekend at Knockhill with an extended lead at the top of the British Touring Car Championship.

The Honda Yuasa driver had been knocked off top-spot after coming seven and eighth in the weekend’s other races.

But he bounced back in the final one with a third place.

With team-mate Gordon Shedden retiring because of damage to the front-end of his car, that was enough to restore the three-time champion back at the top of the drivers’ standings.

In fact, Neal leaves Knockhill with a greater lead, 10 points, than that with which he arrived.

He’s also increased his advantage over third-placed Jason Plato from 10 points to 36.

Plato failed to start the third race when the turbo problems which had slowed his KX Momentum Racing MG6 in the second race continued on the warm-up lap.

Neal said: “I’m staggered to end the day on the podium — it’s been a horrid weekend for me but I’ve got here in the end I suppose and the points are always important.”

Neal was in subdued form in Scotland and started with a seventh in race one, before losing tussle with Andrew Jordan to come eighth.

Home driver Dave Newsham was the biggest winner with two wins while Robert Collard also won the middle race.

He said: “I really did not think victory was possible but, starting from pole position on the reversed grid, I knew my best chance was to push hard straight away and try and build a gap which I did.

“It’s a good job, too, as the tyres were finished six laps from home.”