Honda’s Gordon Shedden says he was ‘in the wrong place at the wrong time’ at Rockingham, after the Scot suffered his worst British Touring Car Championship weekend of the year and saw his title challenge fizzle out.
Scot Shedden had qualified an encouraging fourth for the first race, being just behind Sam Tordoff and title rivals Colin Turkington and Jason Plato on the grid. However contact from rivals, and having to take avoiding action as a rival re-joined the circuit, meant he could only finish the race in eighth.
Race two saw Shedden struggle to make any progress and he finished the race where he started. Things didn’t improve in race three either, where the 35-year-old retired with accident damage after just one lap.
“The car was good in races one and two,” said Shedden, dropped to third in the championship, 64 points adrift of leader Turkington. “We were looking really strong in the first of them until my steering got damaged. After that, we extracted the best that we could out of the situation, although two eighth places was evidently not what we had been hoping for.
“It all got a bit tight on the first lap of race three, and it was the usual situation where nobody is willing to give an inch. One driver came across the front of me and spun onto the grass, re-joining just in time to collect me again; someone else was then unsighted and hit me on the other side, which broke my steering and that was game over, unfortunately. Simply wrong place, wrong time.”
Shedden’s team-mate Matt Neal believes that despite the results the Civic Tourer is now a better car than the Civic Hatchback and concedes that his ninth-place finish in race three was one of the hardest fought top tens of his illustrious career.
“After Snetterton last month, we knew this was going to be a tough weekend, but we didn’t expect it to be quite as tough as it has been,” admitted Neal. “It certainly wasn’t for want of trying, but the dice just didn’t roll our way and the fuel issue that we had in race one left us on the back foot for the rest of the day.
“The first two races were a real struggle. At least I finally got to have some fun in race three – although I’ve never had to work so hard for ninth place before! The car was quick – especially through the technical section – and we had some really good pace on the soft tyres.
“I always say you’ve got to have the rough weekends to appreciate the good ones, and the bottom line is that the Civic Tourer is now better than the hatch ever was. The cards didn’t fall our way this time, but we need to look forward rather than back and there’s still plenty more racing left to be had this year.”