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Honda heads for form circuit Croft

The Honda Yuasa Racing Team heads to one of its strongest circuits on the BTCC calendar this weekend, as Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden take on Croft in North Yorkshire.

The Team Dynamics-run squad have been victorious in at least two of the three races at Croft for the past three years, with points leader Neal and Shedden sharing three wins apiece around the 3.4 kilometre circuit.

“I like the circuit,” said Neal, 46. “It’s got some technical stuff and some high-speed exciting stuff out the back with the Jim Clark Esses and Barcroft. It’s been a good hunting ground for us.”

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Neal is, however, wary of the threat from Andrew Jordan, who is second in the championship and has only won once at Croft, in 2010. The likelihood of rain on raceday also means that the weekend will be far from predictable for the Honda team.

“Andrew is on really good form at the moment and Jason Plato was really quick at Oulton, but if it rains, which is forecast, that should be good for us,” added Neal.

“The fans can get really close to the cars too. You can smell and feel the atmosphere. Along with Knockhill, it’s probably one of the places the fans can get closest to the cars in the UK.”

Gordon Shedden is hoping to continue to close the gap to points leader Neal at Croft – which currently stands at 31 points following a mixed season for the Scot.

“It’s pretty bizarre – each time I’ve finished in the points this season I’ve been on the podium,” admitted Shedden, 34. “The speed is there, we just need a change of fortune. The forecast might throw another dynamic into it.”

Shedden adds that the nature of the circuit – with its fast and slow sections – will mean that finding the right setup for the car to deal with the soft and hard tyres will be crucial.

“The car was very good around Croft last year and we’re good on the new soft tyre,” explained Shedden. “This weekend will be the first hard test of the option tyre so it will be interesting to see how some of the other teams deal with it. It’s also probably the most extreme in terms of having the slowest corner in the UK at the hairpin, and some of the fastest – it has a mix of everything.”

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