Halfords Racing with Cataclean celebrated another front-running weekend at Brands Hatch, with a maiden pole position and podium finish for Dan Rowbottom and second place in race one for team-mate Gordon Shedden.

A stunning effort from the pair during Saturday’s 30-minute qualifying session was rewarded with a front row lock-out for race one, with Rowbottom clinching pole by just five-thousandths of a second.

While the #32 machine bogged down off the line, Shedden powered ahead, although both Team Dynamics-run Honda Civic Type Rs would lose out to the fast-starting BMW of Tom Oliphant who assumed the lead.

Despite dropping to seventh during the opening lap, Rowbottom fought back through the pack ahead, claiming third place on lap ten and holding the position for the remainder of the race to take his first-ever BTCC podium.

Shedden’s race saw him lose ground to the Infiniti of Aiden Moffat in the battle for second, before he took the spot on the fifth tour of the 1.2-mile circuit. Setting his sights on leader Oliphant, Shedden worked his way up to the BMW’s tail but the gap proved too large and the Scot had to settle for second.

Race two saw contact drop Shedden down the order, as he brought his damaged Honda home in 21st.

Rowbottom, who was initially battling with race one winner Oliphant for the lead, lost ground after running wide at Druids and dropped back to fourth, where he would remain until the conclusion of the encounter.

Starting ninth on the grid for race three, with Shedden 21st, Rowbottom battled home to 11th place with Shedden taking 16th and just missing out on points.

“I was over the moon on Saturday night with my first pole,” said Rowbottom. “It means so much to me and my sponsors Cataclean. I must admit I was a little bit nervous going to the grid in race one and didn’t make the best of starts, but I knew the car I had under me and gradually started moving up through the pack to finish on the podium. Then I think I was a little too eager to get past Oliphant early on in race two and that cost me places, but I was happy with fourth in the end.

“Race three was tough with the weight but the car was good all weekend, I have learnt a lot, taken my first pole and first podium and extended my Jack Sears Trophy lead, so I can’t complain too much! We now have our summer break, so I’m going to take that time out with the family, regroup and then it’ll be full focus on Oulton Park.”

“The weekend started so well for us, but I was disappointed not to win [in race one],” said Shedden. “My car felt really good but I just couldn’t get going soon enough. Then contact early on in race two forced me into the gravel and then your day is pretty much done, especially around this tight and twisty circuit.

“The car felt awesome again, so I am really frustrated to go away with just the one podium. I think one more lap in race one and I could have overtaken Oliphant for the top step, but that’s racing! Onwards and upwards now to Oulton Park in a few weeks’ time, I’ve got a chance to rest and recover now, recharge the batteries and be ready to fight come the next round.”


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