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Honda chases Oulton Park success

The Honda Yuasa Racing Team heads to Oulton Park this weekend, looking to continue their strong start to the 2012 British Touring Car Championship.

Having secured five wins out of the nine races held to date in 2012, the team see their drivers’ sitting second and third in the Championship, with Scotsman Gordon Shedden leading the teams’ charge.

Shedden, the only driver to have won more than two races thus far in 2012 arrives with a four point deficit to Championship leader Jason Plato and despite his record at the Cheshire circuit; he feels that this weekend could be tough for the team.

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“It could be a tough weekend, but Oulton has historically been very strong for us,” said Shedden, who has won four out of the last five races. “It’s a circuit where Honda has gone very well in the past.

“The way the rules are at the moment, we’re squeezed pretty tight on the boost, so we have to work the chassis extra hard to keep the results going. It’s a constant evolution and we’ve just got to keep trying to make the car better because if we stand still we’ll go backwards fairly quickly.”

The Scotsman, who took a victory at the circuit last year, is a fan of the track and is expecting the weekend’s racing to be close between the NGTC cars and the S2000 Hybrid cars.

“Oulton is actually one of my favourite circuits and one of my happiest hunting grounds,” he added. “I’ve won most years I’ve been there. It’s a real old-school circuit and I like the undulations, blind turns and big-commitment corners.

“Obviously it’s our first time to Oulton with the NGTC Civic and I think it will be very close, so we’ll have to be on top of our game, but if we are, we should be able to compete at the front and hopefully be on the podium.”

Team-mate Matt Neal took the first win for the NGTC Honda Civic at Brands Hatch and he arrives in Cheshire third overall. Like Shedden, Neal is looking forward to the weekend and hoping to avoid replicating what happened between the two of them last season.

“The first team I raced for was based in Rochdale, so Oulton was the local circuit that I cut my teeth on – it’s got a lot of good memories for me, though last year’s clash with Flash was a low point!” explained the triple Champion.

“Oulton is a great circuit and should suit our car. I think it’s going to be a hard weekend for us with the boost adjustments that have been made, but it’s a handling circuit, which should suit the Honda.

“We had a good test at Pembrey last week, making small steps forward optimising the NGTC regs, which is an ongoing thing. We found a little something on Flash’s car at Thruxton, which was an improvement, and we tried some other things we’ve been working on for the last six or eight weeks that have got to a point now where we can use them – and they were positive,” concluded Neal, who is 14 points off the Championship lead.

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