Shedden shows class in Honda one-two
Gordon Shedden led home Honda team-mate Matt Neal in race one, completing yet another Thruxton success story for the Japanese manufacturer.
Scotsman Shedden got the jump by the pole-sitting VW of Aron Smith and never looked back as he pulled away from the chasing pack before maintaining the lead for the duration of the contest.
Championship leader Neal also immediately nipped by the slow-starting Smith and despite coming under race long pressure he was eventually able to secure an impressive second place finish with maximum success ballast onboard. The result for the new Civic Type R continues a run of eight victories for Honda machinery in the last nine races at the Hampshire circuit, which has impressively spanned three models of car.
“I got a fantastic start so straight away I was in some clear air which made the all-important job of looking after the tyres quite a bit easier,” said Shedden. “To get another win and one-two with the new Civic Type R is a fantastic feeling. By the time I was at the Complex for the first time I’d broken the tow, and from then on I could manage the pace. At Thruxton you’re already thinking about the last lap by the time you’ve finished lap one, but the car was perfect.”
The three car battle between Neal’s Honda, Smith’s VW and the WIX Racing Mercedes of Adam Morgan was effectively ended when the middle-man’s car suffered from a puncture. Smith’s car slid wildly at high-speed before he saved the machine and crawled back to the pits for fresh rubber.
Morgan claimed another impressive podium ahead of Jason Plato’s VW, the latter cleanly picking his way through from sixth on the grid.
“It was a brilliant first race for us – another podium is just fantastic,” enthused Morgan. “Aron [Smith] had his misfortune, but you’ve got to be there to take it and I’m very happy with the result. I made a strong start but had to get my elbows out a bit in the first few laps to keep the track position. We’re in a good position on the grid for race two, so hopefully we’ll have some more of the same.”
Double champion Plato had cause for double celebration after setting the fastest lap, meaning he will start from pole position in race two. “My plan to get some space and put a quick lap in worked a treat,” he said. “It’s important to get the thing to the end – I don’t think the tyre is at fault but we need to look at why our car is struggling a bit to get to the end.”
Despite an incredibly topsy turvy race for BTCC returnee Andy Priaulx he was eventually able to finish fifth – exactly where he started the contest – but it wasn’t without drama. A good start saw him battling for third before a huge lock-up into the first chicane likely led to him flat spotting his tyres. The BMW 125i M Sport immediately began to struggle and the WSR driver dropped down the order over the next few laps. He was, however, able to benefit from an exciting late incident when Jack Goff’s MG straight-lined the final chicane.
Goff’s MG stuttered across the start/finish line with Priaulx and Colin Turkington’s VW making it three abreast. The MG touched Turkington’s Team BMR machine, enabling Priaulx to nip back past, as did Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan. Further pain followed for Goff when his fastest lap was removed by the stewards for a track limits infringement, scuppering his hopes a front row start for today’s second encounter.
Josh Cook’s Chevrolet came out on top of a three-way scrap for ninth, seeing off the attentions from Speedworks’ Tom Ingram and WSR’s Sam Tordoff.
Click here for the final classification for Round 7 of the 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.