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CONSISTENCY PAYS OFF AT SILVERSTONE FOR HALFORDS RACING WITH CATACLEAN

Halfords Racing with Cataclean was put through its paces during Rounds 22, 23 and 24 of the 2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship, as Dan Rowbottom earned three top ten finishes and moved back into the top ten of the championship, while team-mate Gordon Shedden endured a difficult time out at Silverstone.

The pair arrived at the Northamptonshire circuit with high hopes, but after struggling to get an ideal lap during the first part of the qualifying session, Shedden had to settle for 14th on the grid for the opening race on Sunday.

Rowbottom’s Saturday afternoon saw the 32-year-old battle technical issues during both qualifying sessions, but the Kidderminster racer would eventually produce an impressive lap during the top ten showdown to go seventh-fastest.

While Rowbottom made a good getaway during the initial contest, contact and resulting damage during the opening tour ended Shedden’s race before it had begun and left the team with a mammoth job to get the #52 Honda back out for race two.

Meanwhile, his team-mate would lose a place to standings leader Ash Sutton during the 22-lap battle, with Rowbottom eventually crossing the line eighth.

A Herculean effort from the Team Dynamics-run squad saw Shedden back on the grid for race two, starting in 27th and ready for a charge through the field. Surviving an early skirmish with the Honda of Jade Edwards, the three-time champion finished 19th.

Rowbottom made up two places from eighth on the grid during a race-long battle in the leading gaggle to take sixth.

The final race of the day saw Rowbottom and Shedden line up sixth and 19th respectively, but after a sluggish getaway from the grid, the Scotsman would drop down the order from the off. Recovering to 21st by the conclusion of the contest, Shedden’s weekend sees him drop from sixth to ninth in the overall standings.

Also losing places at the start of the race, Rowbottom worked his #32 Honda Civic Type R up to eighth, before a battle with the BMW of Turkington resulted in a ninth-place finish for the Kidderminster racer.

With a trio of top ten finishes under his belt, Rowbottom moves up to tenth in the standings, just one point in arrears of his team-mate, while he adds a fourth hat-trick of Jack Sears Trophy victories to his tally, now having topped the class on 18 occasions throughout the campaign.

“If you look at how tight it is around [Silverstone], you can basically throw a blanket over the entire field,” said Rowbottom. “I have to be happy with those results and scoring a good haul of championship points, but I am always pushing myself to do better. Once you are in the train it is very difficult to overtake and we struggled with power all weekend, so that hampers you even further. But we now go to two strong circuits for us in Donington and Brands, so I’ll be looking to build on those points again. I’m also chuffed to have come away with the Jack Sears Trophy and increase my lead in the Championship.”

“Well, what can I say, just not my weekend!” admitted Shedden. “I’ve yet again got involved in incidents and that’s limited my progress. But you have to put into perspective here that three tenths-of-a-second, the blink of an eye, would have made the difference in qualifying from me being on pole from 14th, so it just shows you how competitive it is. I’m off on holiday for a week now, so I’ll relax, reflect and come back fighting for Donington.”

The Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship now moves to Donington Park (9/10 October) with qualifying on itv.com/btcc on Saturday with all the race day action on ITV4 on Sunday 10 October.

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