Shedden back in the hunt
Following a six-week mid-summer break, the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship made an exhilarating return at Snetterton with Gordon Shedden retaining his composure on a dramatic day of racing to shoot up the table in the Drivers’ standings.
The reigning champion took full advantage of carrying less success ballast aboard his Honda Civic Type R than has been the case for quite some time, as he laid down an immediate marker in qualifying by scorching to his, and Halfords Yuasa Racing’s first BTCC pole position in more than three years.
The Scot converted that into the runner-up spoils in the opener after gamely fending off Colin Turkington’s Subaru for two-thirds of the race, but he found himself pinballed by rivals in race two as he was shuffled back to tenth at the chequered flag. Undeterred, Shedden bounced back in style in the finale to storm through the field and snatch the lead on the very last lap following a thrilling, typically tin-top scrap with Rob Collard, with the cars running door handle to door handle for a third-of-a-lap, inseparable.
Shedden flew through the order in the day’s final bout, disposing of Rob Austin’s Toyota for fourth on lap three. Mat Jackson nipped by Plato for third, with Shedden following suit, but third became second for the Scotsman when the Motorbase Ford slowed with a problem on the Bentley Straight.
The Honda Civic Type R began reeling in Collard’s West Surrey Racing BMW at a rate of knots and was eventually on his tail during the final lap. He fired his #52 machine down the inside of the Team JCT600 with GardX BMW and the duo ran side-by-side for what seemed like an eternity. Collard eventually had to give up the challenge and settle for second, as Shedden stormed to a sensational victory.
Just in time for a return to home turf as the incumbent champion, the Snetterton weekend saw Shedden vault from ninth up to fourth in the Drivers’ championship, right in his team-mate Matt Neal’s slipstream and slicing the deficit to table-topping Rob Collard.
Shedden spoke to btcc.net after taking that enthralling contest in race three, strengthening his championship charge as he looks to Knockhill.
“First of all, I was glad to see everyone walk away from the massive accident at the start of race three,” said the Scot. “For me, obviously, that was a fantastic win. Three laps from the end, I began to think I might be able to catch Collard and my car just came alive.
“With two laps to go, I felt sure I could have a go and that a win might be on the cards and then it all happened on the last lap, when it was bumper-to-bumper until we reached the chequered flag. It was fair racing, and I hope we gave the crowds a thrilling end to the day.
“I couldn’t be happier. It has put me back in contention in fourth in the championship and I will be heading to my home event at Knockhill in two weeks’ time on a real high!”
Tickets are still available for the champion’s homecoming at Scotland’s Knockhill circuit (13/14 August), the BTCC’s only venture north of the border. Prices start at just £37 for adult weekend tickets with discounts available for family bookings with children under 12 able to enter free of charge. For more information and to order tickets head to knockhill.co.uk or call 01383 723337.