A renowned touring car ace within the UK, Gordon Shedden‘s first full season in the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) perhaps hasn’t gone quite as he planned. For the triple BTCC champion, top results have been hard to come by due to continued struggles with his Audi RS3 LMS TCR’s set-up.
However, having traded his original chassis for the one used by Jean-Karl Vernay in TCR Europe, Shedden has bounced back to usual winning ways at the Wuhan street circuit in China.
Lining up from pole position for the event finale, the Scotsman made an okay start off the line but found himself under threat from fellow Audi drivers, Frederic Vervisch and Denis Dupont. As the cars turned into the first corner, Dupont made contact with the rear of Shedden’s car, pitching it sideways, but luckily no position was lost.
A few rows back, the consequences of contact weren’t quite so forgiving. Amongst the top-ten battle, Vernay sideswiped Aurelien Comte, forcing him into the concrete wall. Then, with Comte’s Peugeot stationery on the circuit, it was collected by the Volkswagen of Rob Huff – who was in turn hit by Timo Scheider‘s Honda. Mat’o Homola then hit Scheider to become the fourth retiree from the incident, while Fabrizio Giovanardi and Zsolt Szabo avoided picking up any significant damage.
Inevitably, the safety car was deployed. At this stage, Esteban Guerrieri found himself in second position after a seemingly strong start to the race, however the stewards deemed that he had actually gained an unfair advantage by cutting the corner at turn one. As such, the Argentine was demoted to fourth place under the safety car, putting Dupont and Vervisch back on the rear bumper of Shedden.
Jean-Karl Vernay was the next driver to be penalised. A drive-through penalty for instigating the first lap incident would end any hopes he had of scoring decent points in this race.
As for his team-mate, Gordon Shedden, the Scotsman would come under fire from Denis Dupont yet again. In an attempt to go for the lead, the young Belgian locked up at turn ten before running into the tyre stack used to mark track limits. The front of his car – and the tyre stack – again made contact with Shedden’s Audi, but again the race leader held onto his position.
With Dupont off the pace and off the racing line, Frederic Vervisch was able to move up into second place. For Shedden, this would’ve been bitter-sweet. The Belgian would likely be far more measured in his attacks than his younger compatriot, but he had shown throughout the weekend that he was faster too.
The safety car made another appearance to retrieve the wayward tyre stack that had been dislodged by Dupont, but when the race got underway again, Shedden made sure to eek out as much of a buffer over Vervisch as possible.
Nathanael Berthon was another Audi driver keen to utilise his car’s speed around the Wuhan circuit. First getting by Pepe Oriola, the Frenchman then closed in on Esteban Guerrieri, but was unable to get the move done before the chequered flag was waved.
At the front of the pack, Vervisch was similarly unable to pass the car ahead of him, meaning that his own quest for a first WTCR victory would drag on. For Gordon Shedden, however, that particular wait was finally over.
Full Race Result:
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