Reigning Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship champion Gordon Shedden hailed a “perfect” finish for the Halfords Yuasa Racing squad at Donington Park, after their second one-two finish from the first six races.
The 2012 and 2015 champion netted results of 11th, fourth and second in Sunday’s three encounters at the Leicester circuit, moving to just five points adrift of Honda team-mate and championship leader, Matt Neal.
Neal came out on top in the final race of the day after overtaking Sam Tordoff and Jack Goff‘s BMWs in the closing laps, Shedden following the triple champion through to second in a race that saw the medium tyres come up trumps for Honda.
Speaking to The Checkered Flag, Shedden said: “I think you’ve got to take the pain somewhere on that soft tyre. For us with all the weight we had in qualifying, we just elected to take it early on in the first race.
“Tordoff almost made the soft last towards the end and managed to get a podium so we’ve got work to do in trying to combat that. We’ve been a bit under the radar and we’ve got some stuff to work on but it was a nice way to finish the weekend with a 1-2 finish, perfect.”
The one-two finish was the second of the season in just six races for the Halfords-backed Honda squad, having achieved the feat in the second race of 2016 at Brands Hatch.
Their second in Donington’s final race was aided by their West Surrey Racing rivals struggling up front on the degrading softer Dunlop tyre compound, although Shedden admitted that the Civic Type-R may still have more waiting on the table for their opposition.
“The mixed conditions were certainly interesting and the car was good but we’ve definitely got to find a bit more out of it”, said Shedden. “It’s very close out there but we’re there and we’re in the mix. We’re always somewhere in the mix and that’s what it might boil down to at the end of the season.
“We’re getting there with the car. Some things have been great this weekend but some things also haven’t worked. But again, when you’re this early in the car’s development, you’ve got to figure these things out.
“When I say we’ve got things to work, the car is still great anyway. But to win you’ve got to be on it absolutely all the time and that’s the tricky bit.”
Shedden enters the third meeting of the season at Thruxton second in the championship after a mixed weekend of varying results, the Scot saying the combination of a tight grid, soft tyres and weight differences all make it tricky to put together a strong overall weekend.
“The points situation is up and down and all over the place”, said Shedden. “I think it’s very difficult to get three clean, great results over the weekend. It’s so close and competitive that you’ve got to be happy with two good races and take what comes with the other.
“You take the points all the time but when there’s only one point between so many positions, you’ve got to take into account the difference of weight when qualifying comes around. You’ve got to scrap for every point as if it was the last.”