Gordon Shedden hailed a near-perfect British Touring Car Championship qualifying performance at Silverstone as he secured second on the grid for Sunday’s opening race.
Championship leader Shedden, who carried 75 kilograms of ballast into the session, dragged his Honda Civic Type-R to second behind Mat Jackson in a tight qualifying half-hour.
And while the Scotsman was unable to challenge the Motorbase driver for pole, Shedden was delighted with his performance given how close the top ten runners had been and the handicap he had carried into the session.
“Not a bad result? There’s 75 kilos in the thing,” he told TouringCars.Net. “I’m delighted with that, it’s about as quick as that car will go at the minute.
“It’s worked out well. It’s properly close out there – two tenths of a second [slower] would have had me outside the top ten.
“But I’d much rather start from the front row than the middle of the pack so tomorrow I’ll keep my head down; I don’t think we’ll catch Jackson’s Focus – he’s got zero ballast which is a huge difference, but he’s got it going well and he’s quick.”
Shedden’s result took on extra significance after his nearest championship challenger Jason Plato qualified in tenth, and looking to to make the most of his rivals relative troubles, the 2012 champion set his sights on a healthy haul of points from Sunday’s races.
“All we can do is the best job that we can and pick up as many points as possible.
“I’m going to give it everything, that’s for sure,” said Shedden, when asked if a podium finish was his aim. “It’s not one of our worst circuits on the calendar for tyre wear. We know where we need to be so we’ve just got to stick to our own strategy and keep going.”
While Shedden admitted he thought it was unlikely he could stay with Jackson during the opening race, he hoped to use the speed of the Ford Focus to his advantage early on for Sunday’s later races.
“Hopefully Jackson tows me round for a good lap time, essentially,” joked Shedden. “That’s all we can do, and hopefully it will leave us somewhere near [the front] for race two.”
Despite carrying maximum weight into the meeting, Shedden insisted he was a fan of TOCA’s ballast rules – which he felt had been a positive addition to the championship.
“That’s what we all signed up to – and it makes for great racing,” he said of the new-for-2015 rules. “It’s the same for everybody – it’s not ideal, don’t get me wrong; sometimes when you’re on the wrong end of things it’s not good.
“But I think we’ve had lots of different winners this year, there’s been some great racing and overtaking and I think it’s probably added to the spice of the championship.”