BTCC 2017: Round Seven race report
Knockhill | 12–13 August
Halfords Yuasa Racing star Gordon Shedden is within touching distance of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship title after a strong performance at his home track of Knockhill. Teammate Matt Neal also scooped up much-needed points to keep the battle for both the Teams and Manufacturers titles alive.
“This is my home track, and we obviously came here with hopes of a win – and sending the fans home happy,” Shedden said. “But with the tricky qualifying session and the ballast in the car, it was about getting as many points as possible to keep my championship challenge on course.”
The weekend started with a frenetic qualifying session as a damp track developed a dry line in the final minutes of the half-hour session. Triple-champion Shedden was disappointed to have qualified his Honda Civic Type R in ninth place. Meanwhile, Neal’s late switch to slick tyres meant he qualified back in 21st.
As championship leader at Snetterton, Shedden was hampered by 75kg of success ballast and battled around the short, tight Knockhill track to 11th in the first race. Fellow three-time title winner Neal scythed his way through the field to an impressive ninth.
Things improved in race two for Shedden, who clinched sixth place and added another 10 points to his championship tally. Neal, however, was knocked out of the race after a dramatic battle with Josh Price.
“Despite a poor qualifying session and the knock in the second race, I did have an enjoyable weekend driving through the field in two of the three races today. It’s always a real scrap,” Neal said. “The car felt quick, but we were always on the back foot given the advantage of the rear-wheel-drive cars, and a fight back through the midfield. There’s a long way to go and we are in a good position.”
The trip to Scotland ended on a high for local hero Shedden, who took to the podium in the third race and collected a strong haul of points, with a third consecutive crown still very much in sight. Neal finished his weekend with a valiant fightback drive through the field to take eighth in the final race.
“It was good to end the day with a podium and second spot, and it was great to see such a huge crowd come out here at Knockhill,” Shedden said. “Onwards and upwards to Rockingham.”