Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal were satisfied with a double podium finish for the Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda squad in the opening round of the 2016 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch.
The Honda pairing held their second and third positions respectively from lights-to-flag, reigning champion Shedden trailing eventual winner Tom Ingram by 2.284s after the latter made the best getaway from pole position.
Speaking to The Checkered Flag, Shedden said that the results for both Civic Type-R drivers gave Honda a solid start to 2016, saying: “Its points on the board, steady progress and all good for us.
“You’re never going to win the championship today, but it’s nice to go and get a decent haul of points to put a marker in the ground. We need to tweak it a little bit, what with the temperature coming up again, but it’s race one of the season and we were probably being a little bit safe.”
A further 1.6s adrift of his Honda team-mate, Neal was equally delighted to step up to the podium, telling TCF: “A double podium for the team – you can’t go wrong with that.”
The triple BTCC champion lamented a sluggish restart as a decisive factor to his race, following a safety intervention to remove Alex Martin‘s damaged Ford Focus.
He added: “I was on the radio talking about taking it easy and not using many kerbs, then after the safety car I said ‘right, let’s crack on now’. On the restart, they went and I couldn’t stay with them.
“A bit disappointed with that, but I’m dead chuffed to finish on the podium.”
Shedden was quick to offer gratitude to race winner Ingram meanwhile, saying: “He didn’t put a foot wrong. Second place is good, so we’ll race him from there.
“I think we both had pretty similar pace, but you struggle when you close up to the guy and lose a bit of aero. We didn’t have enough to get past, but [Ingram] drove a fantastic race. I’m delighted for him.”
Neal echoed his team-mate’s congratulations, saying: “Even though we got beaten, it’s lovely to see Tom there on the top step. The first one is always a special one.”