The Honda Yuasa Racing Team moved to the top of the manufacturers’ and teams’ tables in the 2012 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship with an impressive performance at Donington Park last weekend.
Despite only being in its second race meeting with the new NGTC Civic, the squad took two wins and five podium finishes across the three races.
Last season’s championship runner-up Gordon Shedden overcame the bad luck he experienced at Brands Hatch earlier in the month to finish a fine second in the first race, just 0.229 seconds behind winner Mat Jackson, before winning races two and three to record his best ever weekend in the championship.
“I think at the end of first practice I’d done more laps than I had during the whole weekend at Brands!” he said. “I was trying everything just to get some points – it was critical for me after Brands – and there were some shenanigans with other drivers in race three.
Shedden’s three podiums move him up to fifth in the driver standings, 15 points behind leader Jason Plato, and he is now ready for a championship fight.
“We’re six races in and you can see how quickly the tide can change – just look at what happened to Matt in race three – but it was crucial for me to have such a good weekend,” he added. “The car was good and consistent all weekend but the game is moving on and there’s a whole lot happening with other teams.”
Shedden’s team-mate, reigning champion Matt Neal, also scored good points at Donington. He followed Shedden home in the first two races – helping the Honda Yuasa Racing Team to its first one-two of the season in the second encounter – and believed a podium was possible in the reversed-grid finale. However, a multi-car incident. triggered by Rob Collard’s BMW, resulted in Neal being spun into the McLeans gravel.
“In race three the car was feeling great,” confirmed Neal. “It was just a catalogue of events and I ended up the worst off, but that’s life.”
“It was a really positive weekend for the team – three podiums for Gordon and two for me. We’ve overhauled MG in the manufacturers’ and teams’ table.”
Despite the race-three disappointment, Neal is only four points away from the championship lead in second. “It’s early days, but it’s always nice to have big points in the bag,” he added. “Every time we go out we understand the NGTC Civic more.”
The squad’s next outing at the end of the month will be at the high-speed Thruxton circuit in Hampshire, where Neal and Shedden each took wins last season.