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TRIO OF TOP TENS FOR HALFORDS RACING WITH CATACLEAN

Halfords Racing with Cataclean kicked off its 2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship campaign with three top ten finishes from drivers Dan Rowbottom and Gordon Shedden at Thruxton, Hampshire, at the weekend.

The newly-titled squad, operated by Team Dynamics, brings Scotsman Shedden back to the team with which he has won three BTCC titles and offers Rowbottom a perfect platform on which to showcase his ability in the UK’s premier motorsport series.

Thruxton’s qualifying session was a challenge with a wet road drying out towards the end of the 30-minute session, meaning that the correct tyre choice at the optimum time was essential. Shedden qualified eighth, with Rowbottom 16th, but hopes were high for race day.

The first 16-lap race of the season, shown live on ITV4, began with a bang as Shedden had to avoid a slowing Ollie Jackson (Ford Focus) on the opening lap, but as he did so he tangles with Chris Smiley’s Hyundai putting both out of the race at high speed.

It meant significant damage was sustained for the #52 Halfords Racing with Cataclean Honda Civic Type R and a lot of work for the Team Dynamics mechanics to complete before race two.

Rowbottom, however, avoided all the dramas on the opening lap and in his first race for the team charged up to seventh place with some eye-catching moves around the outside at the chicane. Rowbottom’s seventh place netted more points in one race than he had scored in his entire rookie season of 2019!

After a stoppage in race two, Rowbottom made a better getaway at the second time of asking and benefitted from a clash between Adam Morgan’s BMW and Tom Ingram’s Hyundai ahead of him. The Honda man charged up to fifth place and then battled with double-champion Jason Plato, before nipping by for a career-best fourth place.

The Halfords Racing with Cataclean Honda of Shedden was still suffering with its race one damage, meaning he ended up a frustrated 18th, and the team needing to spend more time working on the car before the final encounter.

Things failed to go Rowbottom’s way in race three as the Kidderminster driver was on the wrong tyres at the wrong time in the wet-dry-wet contest, but Shedden was able to make things work as he surged to a fantastic fourth place.

“It wasn’t the weekend I expected, but the car felt hooked up, and it is a long, 30-race season so I’ll bounce back at Snetterton,’ said Shedden. “That last race was really good to charge up from the back of the grid, so it proves that the pace is in the car. We’ll be pushing hard at Snetterton next month.”

“I was hoping for three solid top ten finishes, so to come away with a seventh and a fourth is really good,” confirmed Rowbottom. “Race three was a legacy of the changing weather conditions, so I’ll chalk that up to experience, but it has been a fantastic start to the season and for my relationship with Team Dynamics, and the same is true for Cataclean who had a great weekend in terms of exposure. I really can’t wait for Snetterton now because I really believe I will be pitching for podiums.”

The results of the opening three races of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship put Rowbottom seventh and Shedden 11th in the overall standings.

The next rounds of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship are at Snetterton, Norfolk, on June 12/13. Qualifying will be shown live on itv.com/btcc on the Saturday with all the race day action on Sunday taking place live on ITV4.

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