REIGNING Dunlop British Touring Car Champion Matt Neal has admitted he sleeps with worry dolls' to ease his nerves the night before a race.

Droitwich-based Neal used a pair of dolls, worth about £5, for the first time at Brands Hatch three weeks ago and the next day promptly took an unexpected win in his new Team Halfords Honda Civic.

He plans on snuggling up with them again the night before this coming Sunday's rounds at the Rockingham circuit in Northamptonshire.

Neal, known for his superstitions, said: "You put the dolls under your pillow the night before and they're meant to take your worries away.

"I was worrying a bit arriving at Brands because I didn't think I stood a chance with the new car - it was so short on testing miles - but I won.

"In the race I was under a lot of pressure from the drivers behind and was able to keep calm. So the dolls seem to have done the trick and they'll be coming with me to a few more meetings."

Neal, aiming for a third straight BTCC crown, lies second in the current standings, nine points adrift of SEAT's Jason Plato.