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Gordon Shedden dominates opening contest at Rockingham

Gordon Shedden converted pole position into a crushing victory in the opening British Touring Car Championship race of the weekend at Rockingham, leading home Mat Jackson by 2.5 seconds, with Jason Plato close behind in third.

Shedden and Jackson, both on the front row, made equal starts and went into Deene hairpin on the opening lap alongside one another, however the inside line allowed the former to maintain his advantage. From there, Shedden never looked back and gradually extended his lead en route to a third victory of the season.

Jackson spent the majority of the race defending from the Silverline Subaru BMR Racing duo of Plato and two-time champion Colin Turkington. The Levorg GT’s disposed quickly with MG’s Josh Cook at the start and, though a number of lock-ups from Jackson in the closing stages afforded them a chance to close on the Ford Focus ST, Jackson was able to claim the runner-up spot by a margin of half a second.

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Championship leader Sam Tordoff put in a strong drive to scythe through the field to 10th despite starting 27th after problems struck the WSR trio of BMW 125i M-Sport machines in qualifying. Similarly his team-mate Rob Collard, long renowned for his overtaking prowess, also improving to 14th. Jack Goff completed the recovery drives for BMW with a surge to 12th.

Tordoff’s closest championship challenger, three-time series winner Matt Neal, managed to hold his 8th to close to within seven points of the 27-year old, despite a race that left the works Civic Type-R resembling a yo-yo, with Adam Morgan, Aiden Moffat, Dave Newsham and Tom Ingram providing the headaches. Neal was briefly relieved of position by Jake Hill, before the latter fell to mechanical gremlins and was forced to take a lengthy pitstop that all but ruined his race.

Martin Depper, Mark Howard and Hunter Abbott were the only three to fail to make the finish, the former stopping in the middle of Brook chicane, seemingly with a mechanical fault. Howard got into strife at Pif Paf in the opening exchanges and never recovered, whilst Abbott span at Deene hairpin amid suspicion of a rear failure on the Chevrolet Cruze as it snapped mid-corner.

Heading into the second race, Shedden will now line up on pole position with a full quota of 75 kilograms of success ballast, with Jackson even heavier alongside. The MG duo of Cook and Sutton pick up ballast for the first time this weekend in fifth and sixth, whilst championship leader Sam Tordoff will lose a considerable amount of weight as he chases a return to the sharp end of the field, as will Collard.

The victory moves Gordon Shedden to within twenty-three points of the title lead, but for now Tordoff remains at the top of the roost. Race two gets underway at 13:52.

Race result

1 52 M Gordon SHEDDEN Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R 18 26:36.324 1:23.375 1
2 7 Mat JACKSON Motorbase Performance Ford Focus 18 2.561 1:23.704 2
3 99 M Jason PLATO Silverline Subaru BMR Racing Subaru Levorg GT 18 2.869 1:23.646 4
4 4 M Colin TURKINGTON Silverline Subaru BMR Racing Subaru Levorg GT 18 3.165 1:23.699 5
5 66 M Josh COOK MG Racing RCIB Insurance MG6GT 18 8.741 1:23.939 3
6 116 M Ashley SUTTON MG Racing RCIB Insurance MG6GT 18 12.144 1:24.184 6
7 77 Andrew JORDAN Motorbase Performance Ford Focus 18 14.072 1:24.291 14
8 25 M Matt NEAL Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R 18 18.244 1:24.534 8
9 71 David NEWSHAM Power Maxed Racing Chevrolet Cruze 18 23.899 1:24.253 13
10 600 C Sam TORDOFF Team JCT600 with GardX BMW 125i M Sport 18 24.168 1:23.849 27
11 16 Aiden MOFFAT Laser Tools Racing Mercedes-Benz A-Class 18 25.086 1:24.892 12
12 31 C Jack GOFF Team IHG Rewards Club BMW 125i M Sport 18 26.423 1:23.837 25
13 33 Adam MORGAN WIX Racing Mercedes-Benz A-Class 18 28.526 1:24.550 9
14 100 C Rob COLLARD Team JCT600 with GardX BMW 125i M Sport 18 28.994 1:24.511 26
15 40 Árón SMITH BKR Volkswagen CC 18 29.625 1:24.314 21
16 80 Tom INGRAM Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis 18 31.391 1:24.641 7
17 48 Ollie JACKSON AmD Tuning Audi S3 18 33.533 1:25.059 20
18 12 Mike EPPS RCIB Insurance Racing Toyota Avensis 18 39.864 1:24.863 30
19 39 M Warren SCOTT Silverline Subaru BMR Racing Subaru Levorg GT 18 40.123 1:24.533 18
20 11 Rob AUSTIN Handy Motorsport Toyota Avensis 18 42.436 1:25.290 31
21 95 Stewart LINES Maximum Motorsport Ford Focus 18 43.295 1:25.290 24
22 20 M James COLE Silverline Subaru BMR Racing Subaru Levorg GT 18 43.626 1:25.638 17
23 14 Alex MARTIN Dextra Racing with Team Parker Ford Focus 18 46.925 1:25.213 22
24 34 Tony GILHAM TLC Racing Toyota Avensis 18 50.092 1:25.550 28
R 17 Dan WELCH Goodestone Racing Proton Persona 16 2 Laps 1:24.898 23
R 303 Matt SIMPSON Speedworks Motorsport Honda Civic Type R 16 2 Laps 1:23.760 16
25 55 Jeff SMITH Eurotech Racing Honda Civic Type R 16 2 Laps 1:24.464 15
26 53 Hunter ABBOTT Power Maxed Racing Chevrolet Cruze 16 2 Laps 1:24.632 10
R 24 Jake HILL RCIB Insurance Racing Toyota Avensis 11 7 Laps 1:24.413 19
R 30 Martin DEPPER Eurotech Racing Honda Civic Type R 0 DNF N/A 11
R 38 Mark HOWARD BKR Volkswagen CC 0 DNF N/A 29

Complete race results

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