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Rowbottom takes stunning first BTCC win for Halfords Racing with Cataclean

Kidderminster’s Dan Rowbottom took a stunning career-first win in the latest round of the British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park yesterday.

Starting from fourth on the grid and carrying 27 kilos of success ballast, Dan made a demon start to chase team-mate Gordon Shedden for the opening laps of the race, the Halfords Racing with Cataclean duo nipping past pole-sitter Senna Proctor off the line to control the race. However, the race was interrupted after a heavy accident at Lodge Corner eliminated three cars meaning that Dan and Gordon had to do it all over again on the restart, using the softer option tyre. This time, from second on the grid, Dan made a rocket-ship start to jump ahead of pole man Gordon and the pair ran together for the first few laps. Each was as determined as the other, Dan eager for his first breakthrough win and triple-champion Gordon after a first win since his return to the BTCC.

Despite having a nibble at the back of Dan’s car, Gordon had to settle for second but, at sponsor Cataclean’s home circuit, the two Hondas flashed over the line first and second to give a jubilant Rowbo a first-ever BTCC win.

“I am a bit emotional, to be honest,” said Dan after the race. “I have worked so hard to be on this grid and to take a win in a conventional race, rather than a reversed grid race, is very special. To do it here, with Cataclean based in Liverpool just down the road, is the perfect result and I wouldn’t be here without Cataclean’s support. Gordon had a few goes at me in the early laps of the restart, but that red flag did me a favour because he was too fast in the early stages. I am made up!”

Dan lined up on pole position for race two, this time carrying 75 kilos of success ballast for his race one win and using the harder medium tyre. He made a good start from pole to lead the pack but a forceful move by Rory Butcher, Gordon’s brother-in-law, at Island Bend put the Scotsman’s Toyota in to the lead and forced Dan to consolidate second place from Adam Morgan, Dan just 1.6s away from Butcher at the chequered flag which was an excellent result given the weight on board the car. Dan consolidated second place for an excellent result with the extra weight in the car defending from Adam Morgan’s BMW, while Gordon (with 66 kilos of weight) took sixth place to bank points in the championship to add to the excellent results scored by Halfords racing with Cataclean over the day.

“Race two was almost better than the win,” said Dan, “because to finish second on the medium a tyre and with 75 kilos was really satisfying. The weight really hurts at Oulton with the two big hills and the slow tight hairpin as well, so that was a mega result.”

Gordon started the final race fourth on the reverse grid and Dan lined up eighth, the pair with 33 and 66 kilos of success ballast respectively. In a race twice stopped for accidents, both Gordon and Dan drove intelligently to keep out of trouble and bank points with Gordon taking a podium finish in third place and Dan netting sixth after his best BTCC weekend ever. In addition, Dan added three more wins to his score in the Jack Sears Trophy to extend his points’ advantage, the contest for drivers who hadn’t scored an outright podium result at the start of the season. How things are changing!

The results put Dan third in the championship, just 12 points off leader Ash Sutton, and Gordon sixth with Halfords Racing with Cataclean second in the Teams’s Championship just six points off the lead.

“It was a great day,” said Rowbo. “To do this at Cataclean’s home circuit was the perfect way to repay the faith he company has shown in me and I am thrilled to now be a BTCC race winner.”

The results over the weekend also mark the most scored in a weekend by the Team Dynamics-operated Honda Civic FK8 since its debut in 2018.

The next races in the British Touring Car Championship are at Knockhill, Scotland, at which Cataclean is an associate sponsor. The races are over the weekend of August 14/15 with qualifying on Saturday August 14th and the full raceday action on Sunday August 15th shown live on ITV4.