Shedden Masters The Rain At Rockingham
Submitted on September 23rd 2012 15:27 by Chris Ashby.
Gordon Shedden has taken his seventh victory of the season in Round 23 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship in wet conditions at Rockingham to close to within 1 point of his team mate and championship rival Matt Neal.
In completely different conditions from race one, Jason Plato bogged down on pole position at the start allowing Rob Collard, Andrew Jordan and Gordon Shedden all to pull alongside him as they ran four abreast into a treacherous turn one. As they turned into dean hairpin Jordan’s Pirtek Honda profited as he led the pack out of the corner as everyone else slotted in behind. Further down the grid Andy Neate spun but managed to recover only to end up in the gravel at Tarzan thus bringing out the safety car for the first time today.
Once the safety car went in Jordan led through turn one but out braked himself at the hairpin allowing most of the pack, with Shedden taking the lead, past before he re-joined in eleventh. Injured championship leader Matt Neal squeezed down the inside of race one winner Jason Plato at turn 3 only for contact to be made the next corner sending the Honda Yuasa driver into a half spin and allowing not only Plato but Mat Jackson to squeeze through.
As Shedden stretched his leg in the atrocious conditions Rob Collards eBay BMW began to struggle after his rapid start and was soon dropping down the top ten just as Matt Neal was making his way up into the podium positions. On lap eight Neal made his move at the dean hairpin to take second from Plato who was struggling with set up issues. The top three stayed as they were from then on to the finish with the customary two Honda’s swapping for half a lap to gain extra points for leading a lap.
Frank Wrathall, who had a tough Saturday, was back on form with a brilliant drive that led him to a fifth place finish after starting near the back of the grid. Further down the grid Andrew Jordan’s damage limitation drive brought him up to the back of Aron Smiths Redstone Ford Focus in sixth who had made contact with Rob Collard earlier in the race at the final chicane. Ollie Jackson marked his return to the championship in the popular Golf to finish in eighth with Adam Morgan and Nick Foster rounding out the top ten.
Shedden’s seventh win of the season has now put him onto 314 points, 1 point behind his team mate Matt Neal but crucially they have opened the gap to the MG KX Momentum driver of Jason Plato who has dropped to 26 points behind on 289 points.
The reverse grid draw was carried out by Lea Wood who isn’t competing this weekend and number nine was chosen out of the bowl meaning the Toyota Avensis of Adam Morgan will start on pole for the third race of the day. Race three takes place at 16:50 and can be seen either on ITV4 or www.itv.com/btcc
PHOTO CREDIT: Jonathon Hobley