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Honda duo aiming to “get back into the BTCC groove”

Honda’s Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal are looking to “get back into the BTCC groove” at Snetterton this weekend as the British Touring Car Championship makes its annual journey east.

Shedden currently leads the drivers’ championship by ten points from Team BMR’s Jason Plato, having taken a pair of wins in the first half of the season.

Both Shedden and Neal have been busy since the previous round at the end of June, with the duo taking part in promotional activities for Honda and keeping up their duties in other motorsport circles. As a result both drivers are keen to get back into action at Snetterton.

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“The time seems to have flown by since Croft, with a mixture of testing, British Superbikes back home at Knockhill and a bit of fun at the Silverstone Classic last weekend,” said Shedden, who shared the win with Neal at the wheel of a Ford Lotus Cortina in the race for under two-litre touring cars. “That was a great event, and the first time Matt and I had won a race together. Normally, we’re trying to beat each other, so it was pretty cool that we both got to stand on the top step of the podium at the same time!

“Now I’m looking forward to getting back into the BTCC groove. We have to make sure we keep the points ticking over and make the most of every opportunity. It’s going to be tough for me in qualifying with 75kg of ballast on-board and with the stop-start nature of the circuit, but that will ebb-and-flow as the weekend goes on.

“Snetterton usually produces some good racing, and I’m confident we’ll be in the mix. Ultimately, we need to be competitive everywhere if we want to win the title, and I’m excited about the second half of the season as there are a lot of tracks coming up that I think will really suit the Civic Type R.”

Neal, who is third overall in the drivers’ championship, joked that he is coming back to the BTCC for a rest after a hectic summer of events.

“It’s not exactly been that much of a break,” exclaimed Neal. “I went to Portugal with the World Touring Car Championship boys for my TV duties, then to Knockhill where one of my lads was racing, then the British Grand Prix and last weekend the Silverstone Classic – I’m coming back to the BTCC for a rest!”

Neal cautioned against expecting too much from the Honda pairing early on in the weekend, as carrying maximum ballast will have a greater impact around the 2.97 mile circuit – the longest on the calendar.

“All joking aside, though, I’m really excited about getting back into it and rolling our sleeves up again. I’m a big fan of Snetterton; I like the challenge posed by the new layout, and you need a good all-round car there – which is where the Civic Type R really scores!

“Both ‘Flash’ and I will be carrying a lot of weight in qualifying and race one, which will have an influence with it being such a long lap, but we’ll be in the hunt somewhere, I’m sure. We go to Snetterton targeting podiums and wins – that’s where we need to be.”

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