Tuesday, August 07 2012
Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship challenger Gordon Shedden feels he is still on course for his first title, despite losing the overall lead to Honda Racing team mate Matt Neal. The team heads to Snetterton this weekend (August 11/12) and continues to dominate the championship, despite having to develop a new car for the season.
However Shedden feels the team were never on the back foot, despite a torrid opening round for the Scot at Brands Hatch plagued by reliability issues. He says he was always expecting to be up front: "I think that's how you start every season. We started with the car in August and September of last year, it's a good car, we're the works team and that was our objective. There's been no reason not to expect this."
There's no doubt that Shedden feels that he is ready to win the title: "I think you need three things to win the BTCC title," he considered. "A great car, which we've got. A great team - and Team Dynamics and Honda Racing are the best. Finally you need luck, which you can't control. You need the rub of the green to win and luck is out of my control."
Honda aren't the only works team developing a car to Next Generation Touring Car rules. MG and Jason Plato started late but have already led the championship and have been furiously fine-tuning the car since March. Shedden is aware of the threat from behind: "The current rules make it difficult to get ahead as we get less boost," he explained. "It's difficult when you're penalised for doing a good job. But that's what we've got and we've improved the car. However it's only halfway through the season, there's a long way to go."
Aside from the ever-present Plato, how does Shedden see the threat from the rest of the field on a circuit that the teams will be more familiar with after their debut last year? "It doesn't take long to learn a new circuit," he remarked "I thought the racing last year was great, there was a lot happening and this year it should be even closer - we have lots of fast S2000 cars and the NGTC cars are coming through with the bigger tyres. It's as close as ever!
"I think one of the big improvements is turn four," he continued. "With the double right-hand section following (Agostini - Hamilton). There's the great banking for spectators where you can see almost all of the track - it's great for viewing."
Tickets for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Snetterton on 11/12 August are available from £25, with free admission for children 12 and under. For more information, call 0843 453 9000 or click here.