Croft Awaits Title-Chasing Duo As BTCC Races North By: Honda Racing
•Gordon Shedden keen to maintain title advantage in North Yorkshire
•Matt Neal bidding to build upon stellar Oulton Park outing
•Honda the most successful manufacturer at Croft in modern BTCC
Gordon Shedden and Halfords Yuasa Racing travel to Croft next weekend (10/11 June) at the head of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship table – with both driver and team firmly focussed on maintaining their advantage as the series speeds towards its mid-season break.
Defending champion Shedden regained the top spot in the Drivers' classification courtesy of a second victory of the campaign at Oulton Park last month, with a similarly strong weekend for team-mate Matt Neal – yielding a hat-trick of podiums – vaulting the fellow three-time title-winner up the order into fifth.
Halfords Yuasa Racing soared to the summit of the Teams' standings, with Honda closing in on the lead in the Manufacturers' battle – and now the most successful marque at Croft in the modern era of the BTCC is eager to reassert its supremacy around a circuit regarded as the championship's greatest all-round challenge. The kind of place, in other words, that is tailor-made for the potent Civic Type R.
'Croft is an interesting circuit. It's a little bit like a game of two halves with a blend of slow, technical corners and really fast, high-adrenaline corners, which always throws up a few surprises. It's obviously fantastic to be going there leading the standings, but the downside to that is having to carry a whole heap of glorious ballast for qualifying and race one! That will be tough and it means we'll need to play the long game, but this championship will ebb-and-flow a lot before the year is out and I'll take the points any day. Hopefully, the Civic Type R will do the business again and the weekend will come to me as it goes on.'
'I had the pleasure two decades ago of participating in Croft's BTCC resurgence. It's been pretty much 20 years on the bounce for me since then, and I always look forward to going back. The fans can get really close to the action and smell the burning rubber and engine oil, while for drivers, you've got the technical section and the proper high-speed stuff through the Esses and Barcroft, which isn't for the faint-hearted – you've really got to hold on! In that respect, you need a good all-round car, which the Civic Type R unquestionably is. Traction out of the hairpin will undoubtedly help the rear wheel-drives, but I'm hopeful we can give them a good run for their money.'
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1. Gordon Shedden 157 points
2. Rob Collard 141 points
3. Tom Ingram 132 points
4. Colin Turkington 126 points
5. Matt Neal 124 points
6. Ashley Sutton 112 points
1. BMW 330 points
2. Honda 322 points
3. Subaru 243 points
4. Vauxhall 236 points
5. MG 175 points
1. Halfords Yuasa Racing 272 points
2. Team BMW 261 points
3. Adrian Flux Subaru Racing 128 points
4. Speedworks Motorsport 127 points
5. Eurotech Racing 116 points
6. Ciceley Motorsport 96 points