Halfords Yuasa Racing pairing Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden are looking to maintain a rich vein of form as the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) heads to Rockingham next weekend (27/28 August).
Last time out at Knockhill, Matt Neal hammered home his title credentials with a barnstorming race two victory – his third of the season – as he fought through from eighth on the grid in an on-song Honda Civic Type R. Gordon Shedden scored a hat-trick of strong points, culminating in fourth spot in race three and furthering his push to retain the coveted Drivers’ Championship honours.
Neal and Shedden sit well-placed in second and fourth in the standings with Halfords Yuasa Racing continuing to close the gap to top spot in the Teams’ table while Honda are doing likewise in the Manufacturers’ running. Shedden notched two fastest laps and a victory at the Northamptonshire circuit last season so optimism is abound that a win and consistent points can be on the cards once again as the battle for the BTCC crown heads towards its conclusion.
“Heading into the last one at Knockhill, we were expecting quite a tough weekend if we were being honest with the weight we had on-board and its rear-wheel drive nature. What we and the little Halfords Yuasa Racing Civic Type R managed there was just fantastic. It was a monster right the way through with that win in race two and fifth in race three, even with maximum success ballast. Rockingham’s one that might not expressly favour our characteristics but we have a strong chassis and we’ve gone well there – I came away with three strong points positions and Flash got a win last year so anything can happen, as we saw in Scotland a week ago. Points are what’s needed and its about consistency as always in the BTCC when you’re looking to maintain a title charge. That’s the aim.”
“I never had the dice roll my way at Knockhill, right from qualifying on Saturday. The reverse grid went against me with cars up ahead on the soft compound tyres and we struggled in a straight line. The car was excellent though, as Matt showed. We know how strong the chassis is in the Honda Civic Type R which made it doubly frustrating for me. I went really well at Rockingham last year. The car was on it and we took two of the three fastest laps as well as a race win in the second one on the Sunday so I’m hoping I can pull more of the same out of the bag and get myself right into the mix on track as well as in the Drivers’ championship. I’m not far away and we could be bang on the leader if we put a particularly strong weekend together, it’s all so close. We’re up for the fight and we want to be right there.