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2021 BTCC Snetterton – Race Report

Podium ends testing weekend for Halfords Racing with Cataclean at Snetterton

A tough weekend for the Halfords Racing with Cataclean Honda Civics of Gordon Shedden and Dan Rowbottom resulted in a podium finish in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Snetterton, Norfolk, this weekend.

The two Hondas came to the nearly three-mile circuit on the back of excellent pace at Thruxton for the championship opener, with Kidderminster’s Dan Rowbottom carrying 21 kilos of championship success ballast in his car for lying eighth in the championship.

After an encouraging test, Dan’s weekend began with a brake calliper issue, which cost him track time, but he was able to snatch 11th place in the all-important qualifying session, while team-mate Gordon progressed to the top 10 shoot-out and bagged the fastest lap time. However, his pole position was lost after it was discovered that his rear wing angle contravened the regulations, a genuine error from the team. That elevated Dan to 10th on the grid and put Scotsman Shedden to 28th and set for a day of charging drives.

Dan was a victim of contact with Chris Smiley’s Hyundai in the opening race, which resulted in him losing places in the pack having run ninth on the opening lap. In high temperatures, and with success ballast on board, it was tough to make up the lost ground, meaning that Rowbo finished 13th n the opening race, while Gordon squeezed into the points with a gutsy drive to 15th, up from 28th!

As Gordon battled forward in race two, this time securing 11th place, Dan became a victim of contact again, this time with Senna Proctor (Honda Civic) which again resulted in damage to his Halfords Racing with Cataclean Honda Civic and forced Rowbo to settle for 15th place.

However, with neither car running weight in the final race, hopes were high. With both cars running on the soft, option tyre, which offers more grip, both of the Hondas were soon carving into contention. Dan blasted up to 10th having started 15th, while Gordon worked his way up to third place, before being stuck behind the heavier Laser Tools Racing Infiniti Q50 of race two winner Ash Sutton. With the rear-wheel drive car being able to use its pace in a straight line, Gordon had to settle for third and his first podium of the season.

Dan’s solid day puts him clear in the lead of the Jack Sears Trophy, the championship within the BTCC for drivers who have yet to score an overall podium result. Dan’s excellent start to the season puts him 11 points clear of his nearest rival.

“That was a really tough day,” said Dan after race three. “The heat today has been really high and about 50 degrees inside the car, and maybe the heat affected us a little because we seemed to be lacking that last tenth. I put my all into each race, but the contact in races one and two did a bit of tracking damage and also put me in traffic, but we’ll bounce back for Brands Hatch.

Said Gordon: “That was a frustrating day after qualifying on pole. It’s always difficult to make your way through traffic here, but I gave it my all and managed to grab a podium in race three. I was thinking of going for second, but preferred to get the points in the bank, which has now helped me break into the top 10 in the championship. The car felt strong all weekend so I’m really looking forward to Brands Hatch where we generally go well.”

The results from Snetterton leave Gordon 10th in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship and Dan 14th, with Halfords Racing with Cataclean seventh in the teams’ championship. Dan lies eighth in the Independent Drivers’ Championship with Gordon ninth, with the team fourth in the Independent Teams’ Championship.

The next races will be at Brands Hatch, Kent, on June 26th/27th, with qualifying broadcast on on Saturday June 26th with all the raceday action shown live on ITV4 on June 27th.