DEFENDING champion Matt Neal said his double Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship triumph at Oulton Park took him by surprise.

The Worcestershire driver stormed to second in the standings with victory in the first and third race at the Cheshire circuit.

Honda Yuasa Racing Team colleague Gordon Shedden won the second to give him a five-point lead over Neal, while Jason Plato is third after putting a first-race mechanical problem behind him to claim two podium places.

Shenstone-based Neal, who was fifth in the second race, said: “I never expected a win at all today. I really thought Jason was going to have it his own way —- so for two to come along is a real surprise.

“If he can have a problem, though, it just goes to show how quickly it can turn around and there’s still a very long way to go in the season.”

Plato set a qualifying lap record to grab pole position on the starting grid for the first race but a problem with his KX Momentum Racing MG6 meant he didn’t line up on the grid.

Neal took victory in his Honda Civic ahead of Andrew Jordan’s Pirtek Racing Civic and Robert Collard’s eBay Motors BMW.

It was Shedden’s turn to win in race two as Jordan took another second place finish, with Plato, from the back of the grid, taking third after a stunning drive through the pack.

Neal won again in race three, this time from Plato and Collard’s team-mate Tom Onslow-Cole, while Hereford’s Lea Wood was fifth in his BINZ Racing Vauxhall Vectra.