Honda Yuasa Racing Honda Civic
Honda Yuasa Racing won two Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship titles at the Brands Hatch finale last weekend.
The Honda Civics of Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal secured both the teams’ and manufacturers’ crowns for the fourth consecutive year.
Honda Yuasa Racing stars Shedden and Neal were also in contention for the drivers’ championship and narrowly missed out after an exciting final weekend.
Reigning champion Shedden arrived at the Grand Prix circuit just one point behind Neal and 35 down on leader Andrew Jordan.
Shedden qualified fourth in the dry and quickly moved up to second in the first wet race to keep his title hopes alive.
A tap from Tom Onslow-Cole’s Ford sent Shedden sideways at the first corner of race two, Gordon produced a fantastic save as the field managed to miss him. With Jordan hitting trouble and Shedden recovering to seventh it meant the number one Civic still had a chance of taking the title going into the final race.
Shedden started from pole and did everything he could, leading from start to finish and holding off the challenge of Jack Goff’s Vauxhall. But Jordan’s ninth place finish was enough for the Pirtek Racing Honda driver to pip his Honda Yuasa Racing colleagues to the crown.
“It’s great to win the teams’ and manufacturers’ championships,” said Shedden. “It’s testament to all the guys and a fantastic car. We’ve had a lot of ups and downs this year, but we’ve done everything we could.
“I was disappointed to be tagged off in race two – I was on full lock-stops one way to full lock-stops the other!
“To get within seven points of Jordan was a great effort. It’s the non-finishes that killed it for us, but it’s fantastic for Andy and Pirtek Racing. They’ve worked hard for it.”
Triple champion Neal had a more troubled weekend. Still nursing his finger injury, Neal then crashed in qualifying and had to start race one from 16th.
He bounced back superbly in the first encounter, charging to sixth to stay in the title race. But he was powerless to avoid an incident in race two when Aron Smith and Rob Collard collided ahead of Jordan and Neal.
“The car felt great and I was shadowing Andy,” said Neal. “Then Aron turned Rob round and Andy jinked to avoid Rob and went into me. We clashed wheels and I was walking wounded after that.”
Honda Yuasa Racing did a great job to get the fire-damaged Civic ready for race three, but with no window wipers in the wet conditions Neal found the going tough and had to settle for 14th.
He was nevertheless pleased to see another Civic win the title, the third different Honda driver to take the BTCC in three years.
“I’m ecstatic for Andy,” added Neal, who ended up fourth in the drivers’ table. “I know what it feels like to win it with your dad and you can’t buy that.
“We’ve still come away with two championships and a second in the drivers’ with Gordon, so it’s not all bad!”
There is now a break before winter testing for the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship gets under way.