Honda pairing prepare to play team game in pursuit of title glory

//Honda pairing prepare to play team game in pursuit of title glory

Honda pairing prepare to play team game in pursuit of title glory

  • Gordon Shedden in the thick of the fight as BTCC title tussle intensifies
  • Matt Neal pledges to assist team-mate’s bid for third consecutive crown
  • Halfords Yuasa Racing duo boast strong previous record at Rockingham

Halfords Yuasa Racing team-mates Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal are ready to up the ante as the chase for the coveted 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship crown reaches fever pitch at Rockingham next weekend (26/27 August).

A popular and hard-fought home podium at Knockhill last time out kept defending champion Shedden firmly in contention for a third consecutive Drivers’ trophy – and better still, the Scot heads to Rockingham the lightest he has been in four months, with 57kg of success ballast aboard his Honda Civic Type R and just 12 points shy of the top of the standings in third position.

Fellow three-time BTCC title-holder Neal sits sixth in the classification, although a recent run of ill-fortune has dented his championship push, meaning his primary role now is to assist Shedden’s bid for glory. The Midlander has a strong record at Rockingham, having won the very first BTCC race there back in 2003 – appropriately enough in a Civic Type R – so he can be counted upon to play a vital part.

Gordon Shedden:
“Rockingham is a unique circuit that has a bit of everything, and it’s the only anti-clockwise track on the BTCC calendar, which makes it a different challenge to usual. It has a habit of generating close and exciting racing, and I’ve certainly had some memorable moments there over the years. I remember catching a massive slide through Turn One back in 2012, and saving it turned out to be pivotal to winning the championship. Then last season, qualifying was held in monsoon-like conditions and we put it on pole. We went well there in the races, too, and whilst there are so many other variables to take into account, the key will be to make the best of what we’ve got. It’s the BTCC so anything can still happen, but the title battle is likely now boiling down to four drivers and we need to start scoring some big points again after a difficult few weekends. Having Matt’s support will unquestionably help; playing the team game has always been one of our strengths as a pairing, so I’m sure we will be a formidable force working together.”

Matt Neal:
“Being Midlands-based, Rockingham isn’t too far from home for me, and it throws up a different kind of challenge. You need good traction out of the hairpins and plenty of power down the long straight, and in the wet especially, the banking can be quite exciting – not to mention a little bit intimidating! The car and engine package we’ve got right now is probably the best we’ve ever had – the Civic Type R feels absolutely fantastic and is a joy to drive – but you just never know what’s going to happen in this championship, which is what makes it so thrillingly unpredictable. All we can do is get our heads down, keep pushing and do the best job we can. At this stage of the season, with my points deficit to the top of the table, I’ve got to be realistic – and that means turning my focus to the Teams’ and Manufacturers’ battles and helping ‘Flash’, because he is still well in the hunt. We have always worked very well together, so hopefully we can tickle the top six in qualifying at Rockingham and then move forward from there.”
Drivers’ Standings

1. Colin Turkington, 265
2. Ashley Sutton, 261
3. Gordon Shedden, 253
4. Rob Collard, 248
5. Tom Ingram, 204
6. Matt Neal, 172

Manufacturers’ Standings

1. BMW, 589 points
2. Honda, 513
3. Subaru, 511
4. Vauxhall, 389
5. MG, 243

Teams’ Standings

1. Team BMW, 501 points
2. Halfords Yuasa Racing, 420
3. Adrian Flux Subaru Racing, 363
4. Speedworks Motorsport, 202
5. Eurotech Racing, 161
6. Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo, 160

2018-07-17T23:00:09+00:00August 21st, 2017|BTCC|