Gordon Shedden admitted that he ‘dug deep’ at Silverstone to grab a win that leaves him just 11 points shy of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship lead heading to the Brands Hatch GP finale next month.
Victim to a puncture in race one on Sunday after qualifying 10th the day prior, the reigning champion revitalised his title defence with a charge to eighth place in race two, backing that up in style with a fourth win of 2016 from pole in the final outing of the day.
While the result came as a surprise to Shedden, it left him brimming ahead of the season finale at Brands Hatch GP on 1/2 October, the Halfords Yuasa Racing man just 11 points shy of West Surrey Racing‘s Sam Tordoff with three races to go.
“I didn’t expect that, especially after race one”, Shedden told media including The Checkered Flag after his win. “We were 40 points off the lead two rounds ago and now we’ve halved each deficit at both weekends.
“The problem is I can’t just halve it next time, I need to get in front!”
Shedden drew level with Mat Jackson on four wins with his race three success, both on the highest number of victories in the 2016 field with a count back possibly needed to decide the title.
A charge from 23rd to eighth in race two was valuable for the Honda man at the shorter 1.64-mile national circuit, while a fine move at Becketts to grab the lead from Rob Collard was key to his race three triumph.
“Silverstone isn’t the easiest the circuit to pass on”, added Shedden. “I had a good run in race two. That was a cracking race. Every door that opened or nearly opened, I was in there and got through some other people’s moves as well.
“I’ve been round the outside of Brooklands a couple of times in race two, which really helped. You don’t want to throw caution to the wind but race two and three was about digging deep to give myself an opportunity for Brands Hatch.”
Referring back to the decisive overtake in the final race of the weekend, Shedden said: “I knew I would have decent grip on the soft tyre and that car felt so hooked up.
“The BMW [of Collard] was also on the hard tyre and also a RWD, so I knew I needed to take my chance pretty quickly. I had an amazing run through turn one, took a couple of deep breaths and kept it going.
“The car was mega. I was staying off the kerbs and looking at the lap times thinking I needed to slow down but I actually wasn’t pushing the car that hard. I could just square it off and look after the tyres.”
The weekend leaves Shedden second of the eight drivers still in contention mathematically for the 2016 BTCC title, a record number heading into a finale. While 11 points behind heading to a venue Shedden was victorious at back in the April opener, Shedden still counted his lucky stars at Silverstone.
“We could have quite easily been nowhere. If we didn’t have the reverse grid it could have been a different story. One place further back and I wasn’t making it.”