Gordon Shedden said that success ballast made the Honda Civic ‘come to life’ as he claimed victory in the second Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race of the season at Brands Hatch.
The reigning champion dislodged pole-sitter Tom Ingram from the lead on lap two of a restarted 20-lap race, after which he was untroubled on his way to victory ahead of the charging BMW of Rob Collard.
Shedden was delighted to win so early in 2017, matching the events of 12 months prior when Ingram and Shedden shared race one and two spoils at the same circuit.
“It’s mirrored the first two races from last year with a second place and a win”, Shedden reminisced with The Checkered Flag afterwards.
“I’m really chuffed with that one. The car was better with 66 kilos of ballast in that race than it was with nothing in the first. [Ingram] had a better balance than me in the first race and I had a better balance in the second.”
The Scot admitted that, while one of the team’s strengths is the balance of the Civic with success ballast aboard, the car is still missing performance without the extra weight added.
“It’s very strange”, he added. “It was a nicer car to drive. I managed to sneak past Tom; I think they were a bit aggressive with their set-up because his car looked tricky to drive for the first few laps.
“We test with the weight all the time so maybe we’ve not quite found out how to make it work without the weight just yet.”
Victory was never secure in Shedden’s eyes during the second race of the day, one which had several additional hurdles thrown in including no flag to signal the end of the race.
“There was a lot going on because there was quite a lot of radio chat trying to find out what we had with the restarts. You’re also thinking about clutch temperature and you know the RWD cars are going to be quicker off the line.
“Even at the end there was no chequered flag for me – I was still flat out. For the last four laps, every pit board had a different number of how many laps to go. The first rule of motorsport is to keep going until you see the flag!”
Shedden finished less than a second ahead of Collard, and concluded “he was good. He didn’t have a lot of weight in the car and it kind of felt like he was catching me on the brakes rather just having insanely more pace.”
Admitting that he could be a ‘sitting duck’ in race three, Shedden starts the final race from eighth on the grid while Tom Chilton‘s Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra starts from pole position after the exclusion of Rob Austin from race two.