Monday, 12 October 2015

Shedden bags title in Brands thriller

Gordon Shedden claimed his second Dunlop MSA British Touring Car title in spectacular fashion by carving up the field in the final race of the season, finishing in fourth place despite starting way back in 19th.

Shedden's low grid position for the third race of the season finale came after a difficult second race which saw him battle rear brake issues which dropped him out of the points paying positions.

The opening two races of the day were dominated by Motorbase's Mat Jackson who took advantage of his Mountune engined Ford Focus'  spectacular straight line speed advantage to lead from lights to flag both times.

Aron Smith and Adam Morgan completed the podium in race one with the primary championship contenders Shedden and Jason Plato in fifth and sixth, just behind reigning champion Colin Turkington who went into the weekend still with an outside chance of retaining his title.

Race two was a much more intriguing affair with Tom Ingram snatching second place from Morgan. The Speedworks driver applied pressure on Jackson for the win but was unable to get by the 2008 championship runner up. The race two top five was completed by Dave Newsham and Jack Goff with Jason Plato in sixth.

Shedden's non-score in race two and Plato's points haul sent the title battle down to the wire.

With Shedden starting race three from 19th on the grid, he'd gone from the favourite to the underdog in a matter of hours. His hopes were dented further when Jason Plato was drawn for pole position for the season finale.

Plato was never troubled in the final, winning from Mat Jackson by over three and a half seconds but the attention was on Shedden to see if he could secure his second BTCC crown.

Shedden produced a stellar drive to make his way through the field and, with help from Honda Team mate Matt Neal, moved up to fourth in the closing stages of the race, securing the title by a mere four points from Jason Plato.

Plato's race three triumph allowed the Team BMR driver to extended his lead at the top of the all-time wins table.

Plato disappointed after missing out on crown

Gordon Shedden's Honda Yuasa Racing team mate Matt Neal played a major part in helping the Scot secure the title, despite also being mathematically still in the title race at the start of the day. The three time champion watched his pace and let Shedden by when needed to ensure he scored enough points to leave Brands Hatch as champion.

Boasting a powerful four car team, Team BMR lineup arrived at Brands Hatch with two of their drivers in title contention. Aron Smith was expected to help his team's title ambitions while Alain Menu, filling in for the injured Warren Scott, was not really expected to feature.

Jason Plato however was left fuming after he believed 'certain members of the team' didn't play the team game to help him or Colin Turkington secure the title.

Second in race one, Smith finished ahead of both Turkington and Plato, something that left the 94-time race winner visibly disappointed when interviewed by ITV following the race, suggesting that someone on the team had 'got themselves the sack'.

Speaking to Autosport after the weekend, Plato said: "Certain members of the team could have played it differently and helped me out as they said they were going to".

"I don't know. I'm not in their heads, they do what they like," he added. "That's a team issue and I'm sure there'll be quite harsh words."


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