Gordon Shedden praised the efforts of Honda after the new Civic Type-R claimed a brace of victories in the opening round of the 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch.
The day was a thoroughly productive one for the Honda Yuasa Racing squad at the Kent circuit, team-mate Matt Neal winning race three while Shedden held on in a photo-finish with Andy Priaulx to win race two.
Mechanical gremlins ended Shedden’s day early in race three however, although the Honda man left a solid fifth in the championship and just five points from overall leader, Neal.
“Our pace has been pretty good this weekend but the car is just too new”, said Shedden after race two to The Checkered Flag.
“It’s tricky to drive, it’s on the edge but to cross the line first in the second race was just incredible.”
Shedden’s first win was clinched by a mere 0.040s, racing to the line with Priaulx’s West Surrey Racing BMW which dived to the inside as Derek Palmer Jr‘s Infiniti Q50 distracted the race leader.
The race winner enjoyed the battle with the former three-time World Touring Car Champion and praised the driving of the the BMW man despite a brief knock between the pair at McLaren.
He said: “It wasn’t easy, I’ve had easier wins! It was good though – a really good fight.
“[Priaulx] was pushing and shoving like the rest of us, but giving a bit of room when it was required as well. He’s a class act and it was a nice photo-finish. That’s what touring car racing is all about.
“If I’d have lost the race because of the Infiniti, then that would have made me feel a bit sick.”
Priaulx himself responded on the battle: “I was just willing the car on to get to the line first after I got up the inside – it was fantastic fun!
“I thought I might just have got it but fair play to Gordon, it was a good fun, hard race. I saw the gap into Clearways – the Honda looked to be struggling mid-corner, but I’m still happy to be on the podium.
“I’m there at the front and that’s where we need to be, we are struggling with straight line speed though so we need to work on that, but with pole and a podium it’s been a great first day back in the BTCC.”
Priaulx himself sits fourth in the championship after his first weekend in BTCC since 2002, three points from the series lead overall.