Podium result for Halfords Racing with Cataclean at Croft
A superb second place finish for Gordon Shedden was the highlight of a tough weekend at Croft for Halfords Racing with Cataclean in the British Touring Car Championship. Triple champion Gordon took second place in the final race of the day after a race-long duel with championship leader Ash Sutton.
Qualifying on Saturday was a challenge for everyone with the 30-minute session twice interrupted by stoppages for cars off the road and then the time being reduced, depriving teams of three minutes. By the end of the session, Gordon lined up 17th after a brief off as he tried his hardest, and Dan Rowbottom ninth on the grid, despite a power steering fluid leak that resulted in a smoky Honda Civic in the final few minutes.
Dan made a good start in the opening race and was soon pushing hard for position, but at the Hairpin he was dive-bombed by Chris Smiley (Hyundai i30N) which biffed Rowbo into Ollie Jackson’s Ford. Jackson was out with suspension damage but Rowbo carried on, despite losing places as he was forced out wide. The incident dropped him into the pack and an eager Aron Taylor-Smith (Cupra Leon) made a move at the Complex but tagged the rear of Dan’s Honda and speared him into the tyre wall. Dan was out of the race as Gordon battled his way to 10th place.
For race two, with both cars on the faster option soft tyre, Rowbo had to fight his way up from the rear of the grid and climbed from 28th to 16th, narrowly missing out on points, while Flash battled his way up the order into sixth place which put him on the front row for the final race of the day with its partially reversed grid.
Flash made a denon start but couldn’t quite edge ahead of pole-sitter Colin Turkington on the way to the first corner. Gordon squeezed into the pack ahead of championship leader Ash Sutton (Infiniti Q50), but as he had to defend so Turkington edged away. The Flash and Ash Show became the focal point of the race as the Scotsman was under intense pressure all race and somehow hung on to maintain second place, his third second position of the season, and to move back up to sixth in the championship.
“That was hard!” said Sheds after the race. “Ash was all over me but I knew he wasn’t going to do anything silly because he isn’t racing me in the championship. That was an important result for me in terms of points and it was a really good race.”
Dan Rowbottom battled his way from 16th on the grid to ninth place after a robust effort to take another important points finish but the weekend drops Dan out of the top 10 in the championship. The positive of that is that he will head to Silverstone next weekend with no success weight for qualifying nor race one and should be fighting for a third pole position of the season.
Dan took a 15th win of the season in the Jack Sears Trophy for drivers who hadn’t scored an outright podium at the start of the season in a dominant season in the competition.
“It was a case of what might have been,” said Dan. “Had I not been drilled by Smiley in race one, I wouldn’t have been in the pack
Heading to Silverstone, Gordon lies sixth in the championship and Dan 11th, while Halfords Racing with Cataclean sits fifth in the BTCC Teams Championship. Gordon is sixth and Dan eighth in the Independent Drivers’ standings, while Halfords Racing with Cataclean is fourth in the Independent Teams championship.
The British Touring Car Championship heads next to Silverstone on September 25/26 with qualifying on Saturday live on itv.com/btcc and all the raceday action live on ITV4 on Sunday September 26th.