HALFORDS RACING WITH CATACLEAN CARRYING MOMENTUM TO BRANDS HATCH
Halfords Racing with Cataclean is heading into this weekend’s rounds of the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship ready to ride the momentum of Donington Park, where the squad secured a number of accolades throughout the penultimate event of the campaign.
Kicking the weekend in Leicestershire off with pole position – and a new qualifying lap record – three-time BTCC Champion Gordon Shedden led a lights-to-flag victory in the opener despite the attentions of Dan Lloyd, to continue a change in fortunes for the Scotsman after a difficult time out at Silverstone just two weeks prior.
Team-mate Dan Rowbottom, meanwhile, was straight into a fight for position from seventh on the grid. Having picked up damage during the early stages, the Kidderminster racer found himself dropping down the order and would finish a frustrating 14th.
In his ballast-laden #52 Honda Civic Type R, Shedden was in the thick of the battle for the lead from the off. Having taken P1 back from Rory Butcher during the early stages, the Scot was soon under pressure from a charging Tom Ingram. With the Hyundai taking the lead on the exit of Coppice, Shedden would eventually cross the line in second.
A post-race penalty for on-the-road winner Ingram, in relation to his move to get ahead of Shedden, consequently promoted the 42-year-old to the top spot, making his 50th career victory in Britain’s premier motorsport series.
Round 26 was a similarly successful encounter for Rowbottom, with the 32-year-old running as high as ninth, before settling in P10 in the final laps. The place sealed Rowbottom’s 19th victory of the campaign in the Jack Sears Trophy battle, and saw him attain an unassailable lead in the class with four rounds still to take place.
Starting second on the grid for the final race of the day, Rowbottom would hold the place for the majority of the encounter, before dropping back to fourth. While a five-second penalty for starting out of his grid position would then see him sixth in the final result, Rowbottom ended his day in Leicestershire with a 20th JST victory, having excelled in the class throughout his sophomore campaign.
Shedden, meanwhile, battled with the challenges of success ballast and the reverse grid order during the 18-lap contest, taking 13th place at the chequered flag.
“It was great to get that win,” said Shedden. “It was a real boost for the team, especially after pole position too. The cards just haven’t fallen for me this year but hopefully this is the start of a good run.”
“I’m delighted with my Jack Sears Trophy results in my first season with the team,” added Rowbottom. “Twenty JST wins is great in itself and I want to win the remaining three to make it a record in one season, but to add two pole positions and an outright win onto the tally as well has made it a great return to the BTCC for me.”
Shedden now lies eighth in the championship with Rowbottom tenth, while they are fifth and sixth respectively in the Independent Drivers’ battle. Halfords Racing with Cataclean is fifth in the Teams’ Championship and third in the Independent Teams’ Standings.
The final races of the 2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship take place this weekend (23/24 October) at Brands Hatch, with qualifying live on itv.com/btcc on Saturday from 1450 and the race day action live on ITV4 on Sunday from 1045.