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Honda ‘to come out fighting’ at Knockhill

Honda’s British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) team will have to “come out fighting” at Knockhill, after drivers Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal endured their worst-ever weekend together last time out.

Shedden had previously led the championship during the summer break, but a disastrous weekend at Snetterton saw the Scot slip to third, 32 points adrift of new series leader Jason Plato.

Despite the dip in form, Shedden is optimistic about his chances heading to his home circuit at Knockhill, where he works in his day job as the circuit’s Business Development Manager.

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“I think Snetterton was the worst accumulative score Matt and I have ever had at a race weekend,” declared Shedden. “But that round is done and dusted, there’s nothing that we can do about it other than come out fighting at Knockhill – I always look forward to racing north of the border.

“It’s awesome to race at my home circuit, especially in front of a home crowd – the Scottish love their motor sport and it’s great to be part of that.”

The former champion carried maximum success ballast going into qualifying at Snetterton, which resulted in a lowly 16th on the grid for the first race. Shedden will thus be slightly lighter at Knockhill, which he believes will make a big difference around the shorter circuit.

“In terms of the circuit, Knockhill is everything that the BTCC is about – a ‘real roller-coaster’. It’s aggressive and always produces spectacular racing.

“Qualifying is going to be really tight but every cloud has a silver lining and we head into the weekend with slightly less success ballast – we are definitely going to use that to our advantage.”

Neal, who took his only victory in the Civic Tourer in race one in 2014, is hoping that the Civic will be able to keep pace with the rear-wheel drive cars around Knockhill, expecting to be towards the front end of the grid.

“Snetterton’s result is what it is and we have to look forward,” said Neal. “We have a great car under us and going into the weekend with significantly less success ballast, we should put in a good performance.

“Knockhill is very much a rear-wheel-drive circuit and given the strength of the Type R, I’m hopeful that we will be up there with the rest of the real-wheel-drive cars.

“I like Knockhill as a circuit – it’s completely different to everywhere else we visit in the series. We all know that the track breeds very intense racing and for sure qualifying will be extremely close so we can’t afford to make any mistakes. However, the Type R is our potent weapon and having the weight off, we should be somewhere at the sharp end of the pack.

“Our target as a team is to get some solid points on the board for both ‘Flash’ and I.”

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