By Pat Cranham, BTCC Correspondent: Gordon Shedden slips past his Honda Yuasa teammate to reclaim the series lead in Croft
Gordon Shedden has led home a Honda Racing 1-2 in round 14 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Croft. Shedden outpaced teammate Matt Neal to take his 6th victory of the year and Honda’s 7th victory in a row to retake the lead in the championship.
As expected eBay Motors Rob Collard took the lead in his BMW, but was down to third by the end of the first lap with both Hondas getting past by the end of the lap. After falling to Neal in the opening round, Shedden was clearly the quicker of the two works Hondas and, after Neal had a little wiggle coming out of the chicane, Shedden was able to get alongside the reigning champion to take the lead as the two Hondas then disappeared to take a 1-2.
After the race a delighted Shedden said, “I managed to sneak my way through to the front and then it was pretty uneventful. The guys worked real hard between the first and second race and transformed the car. Well happy, a double podium today is fantastic just need to keep it going.”
Things though weren’t as good as they seemed for Neal, as he suffered with an engine misfire throughout the race and was lucky to make the finish, pulling off immediately off after the finish line and perhaps giving his team a lot of work before the third race of the day.
Rob Austin put in a strong effort in his own prepared Audi A4 to secure his first podium of the year, following a fantastic move on Andrew Jordan on lap 14. So far the former Formula 3 racer has suffered with budget issues as well as a fair amount of bad luck but was delighted to be third and said, “Really good. Finally we have not had some bad luck. It’s a tremendous reward for all the boys for their hard work and a great excuse to get drunk tonight. We were plagued with problems last year but this year the car is so much better and was quick straight away and now the engine problems are behind us as long as we hold it together, we could get more of these.”
Coming in fourth for the second race running was Jordan in the Pirtek Racing Honda Civic and he held off the two eBay Motors BMWs of Rob Collard and Tom Onslow-Cole, during a fantastic battle through the last few laps.
Following his problem on the out lap of race 1, Jason Plato made his way through the field to from the 20th starting spot to claim the seventh position, and now with the reverse grid must surely be in with a shout of victory in race 3; although he is now a massive 40 points behind Shedden at the top of the standings.
Frank Wrathall had a much better race this time staying out of trouble in his Dynojet prepared Toyota Avensis to take eighth ahead of the second MG KX Momentum MG6 of Andy Neate. Rounding out the top 10 was the final eBay Motors BMW of Nick Foster, this time making it to the first corner, and he will start on pole position for race 3 when he was picked out on pole position after the draw for the reverse grid.
Team HARD driver Tony Gilham finished 11th ahead of Dave Newsham and Jeff Smith whose teams, ES Racing and Pirtek Racing, worked brilliantly to repair their badly damaged Vauxhall Vectra and Honda Civic following the first race.
The final two points scoring positions went to the Ford Focus of Liam Griffin for Redstone Racing and the AmD tuning.com VW Golf of Ollie Jackson. Griffin was the only one of three Redstone Racing Focus’ to score any points in round 14 following Aron Smith’s off, while lead driver Mat Jackson failed to start following an engine change after race 1.