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Gordon Shedden aiming for ‘strong points haul’ at Oulton Park

Gordon Shedden is aiming to put the frustrations of Thruxton behind him as he aims for three strong points finishes when the British Touring Car Championship heads to Oulton Park next weekend [4th-5th June] for the fourth meeting of the season.

The reigning champion scored an unlucky thirteen points across the triple header in Hampshire at the beginning of the month, dovetailing a brace of retirements in the first and final races with a superb drive through the field in the middle contest.

Despite the setback, Shedden currently sits fifth overall in the Drivers Championship, a total of fifteen points adrift of joint standings leaders Rob Collard and Shedden’s team-mate, Matt Neal.

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Thruxton also marked the first time this season that Halfords Yuasa Racing have failed to win a race at each meeting, bringing to an end a strong run of form for the works Honda outfit at the notoriously difficult 2.4 mile circuit.

The championship heads next to the picturesque Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire, with the grid set to be shaken up slightly as a result of the boost levels being re-adjusted by series officials TOCA after the Thruxton triple-header.

Shedden, who insists he heads into the weekend in fine form, will also benefit from carrying less success ballast than his closest rivals as a result of his championship position, which could prove invaluable to the Scot during the all-important qualifying session on Saturday afternoon, with opportunities to overtake at a premium around the Island configuration of the circuit.

“I’m feeling good; I think I was ready to go again at about 6:30pm on the Sunday at Thruxton, because I wanted to immediately erase the memories of that weekend,” joked Shedden.

“Oulton is a fun track to drive and usually produces good racing – although overtaking isn’t easy – and the large and enthusiastic crowds generate a good atmosphere.”

The 37 year-old also highlighted the significance of taking advantage whilst his rivals are laden with heavier machines.

“Ballast is quite a penalty there, due to the stop-start nature of the circuit, its undulating layout and heavy-braking zones. That will put even more emphasis than usual on qualifying – particularly with a full grid of 32 cars,”

“The flipside to Thruxton in that respect is having dropped a few spots in the standings, I’ll be the lightest I’ve been going into qualifying for well over a year, with the obvious exception of the first round of the season when everybody is on zero ballast – so I’ll need to make sure I get my finger out to really take advantage of that.”

He also believes that the Honda Civic Type-R, the older specification of which he claimed his second crown in last season, has yet to scale its development curve and explained that the team have some ideas to put into practice in the near future regarding its performance.

“We’re still trying to maximise the potential of the Honda Civic Type R – I don’t think we’ve completely aced it yet – so to be as competitive as we have been everywhere so far is really encouraging, and we’ve got some good ideas to improve it further.”

“Hopefully we can come away from Oulton with three good finishes and a strong points haul to put us firmly back on the championship trail.”

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