Having lost places in the closing laps of the first race Gordon Shedden had to fight from sixth to claim victory in the second BTCC race of the day at Rockingham, taking only four laps to reach the front of the field.
Half Shedden's work was completed on the opening lap. He took advantage of a slow starting Frank Wrathall off the line before out-muscling Nick Foster around the opening two corners. Shedden's march to the front was completed on lap three with a move past pole sitter Jason Plato to take the lead at the Deene hairpin.
Behind Frank Wrathall completed the same move on Paul O'Neill and on lap six the NGTC Toyota Avensis had passed Plato for second. For the remainder of the race Wrathall remained close behind Shedden while only occasionally making a concerted attempt to take the lead.
“I had a blinding first couple of laps and it all went to plan and I was able to get my head down and get out of there, but it's so hard on tyres,” Shedden told The Checkered Flag. “It was very, very difficult – as soon as I got to the front it was just peg it back, peg it back and try to just do enough.”
Tyres were Shedden’s concern, though he believed he had managed them well during the race, and he held off Wrathall, taking advantage of the Honda’s superiority around the corners.
“They've obviously got really good pace out of that car I don't think he was being overly aggressive, you can see that,” said Shedden. !It kind of ebbed and flowed as the lap went on. I had enough coming out of the last corner to keep me safe going into turn two and then he nowhere to go through the middle of the lap, so it was a bit nip and tuck really.”
“The car was sweet all the way through,” said Wrathall. “I was able to get right up on the back of shedden and put the pressure on, I wasn't quite able to put myself to make a move but to get second that close to firth place is absolutely brilliant. The tyres weren’t as bad as Gordon’s, I could see he was struggling a bit, but he still remained strong in the key areas to keep me from passing him, he didn't put a wheel wrong all race.”
Behind Plato had fallen back towards and Matt Neal to set up the battle much of the crowd wanted to see. However, those expecting an on track clash to go with their pitlane spat were left disappointed.
The pass – which still had an air of inevitability about it despite the latest performance changing – was a simple affair at the Deene hairpin, Plato surrendering the inside line early, Neal easily passing for to complete the podium behind Shedden and Wrathall.
Plato held on to fourth, with Nick Foster recording another impressive result in fifth. The WSR driver had found his way into third off the line but fell down the order, running as low as seventh before a late race surge saw his past James Nash and Paul O'Neill, the move around the Chevrolet after Foster took the outside line around Tarzan to set up a pass on the inside at the Brook chicane. Nash and O'Neill resolved their own battle in favour of the Triple Eight driver on the final lap.
Jeff Smith took eighth with Rob Austin ninth after another eventful race, having started from the pitlane. The expected change faltered for a time behind Rob Collard at the wrong end of the top 20, but once past the BMW the Audi driver was able to charge into the points. A lap after passing Collard he got ahead of both Mat Jackson and Andrew Jordan, clashing with Jackson exiting Deene, the right-rear door of the Focus popping open, a problem that would force a pitstop to drop Jackson from the points.
Austin also helped Alex MacDowall continue his eventful Sunday, pushing him into a spin under braking from Tarzan that took the Silverline Chevrolet out of the battle for the top 10. Austin claimed more points in ninth, with Rob Collard tenth, taking pole position for the reversed grid final race.
The six Ford Focuses from two teams all endured a difficult time – Tom Chilton the best blue oval representative in eleventh, one place ahead of namesake Onslow–Cole. Things were worse in the Airwaves Racing camp with Michael Caine retiring from the race reporting 'rising water temperatures'.