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Shedden wins BTCC race one at Oulton Park

Sunday, June 05 2011

Gordon Shedden has taken the first win in today's rounds of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park, in a race dominated by tyre choices. Jason Plato and Alex MacDowall provided much cheer for Chevrolet as championship leader Matt Neal dropped down the field after dominating the early laps.

Neal made a better start off the line with full wets, but with brief rain on the grid dying out in the early laps, was unable to maintain his initial fast pace as his team mate, running slicks on the front and wets on the rear, closed in and took the lead on lap 4. His drop in pace will add weight to claims of heavy tyre wear on the Hondas, as many of his competitors were running a similar combination. In particular, Plato and MacDowall ran strongly, if unable to match Sheddens pace.

The Silverline Chevrolet pair ran in formation in the early laps as they worked on Andy Neate's third place. With Shedden ending Neal's run as race leader, Plato made sure that he cleared the Focus ahead of him to take advantage of the Honda's rapidly dropping pace. On lap five, Plato was on the back of Neal and looking for second as they entered Old Hall and whilst he was unsuccessful here, only needed a few more corners, taking the place at Knickerbrook.

MacDowall was next to attack, a gentle nudge on Neal at the hairpin giving him a better exit as Rob Collard took the opportunity to follow him through. The West Surrey Racing BMW was performing well in the race from a qualifying position of fourteenth. However the surprise performance was from Tom Onslow-Cole behind him in his first wet weather drive in the VW Golf, he jumped to eleventh on lap one, then seventh next time round but slipped back to eleventh by the chequered flag.

With Neal and Neate continuing their fall down the field, Nick Foster and Lea Wood were further beneficiaries, from nineteenth and twenty-first on the grid respectively. Even without falling rain, the trees lining the circuit can make for a slippery surface long after the rest has dried and this was very much a race where tyre choice and management counted for more than raw pace.

Another driving well in the conditions was James Nash, the Triple Eight man working his way up to fourth by the end of the race and ahead of both BMWs. Less fortunate as he battled with Neal and Neate, was Jeff Smith. Getting onto the grass on the run down to the Island following contact with Neate, he was a passenger as he spun into the hairpin and a charging slick-shod Tom Boardman had nowhere to go, putting them both out and in a race against time to make race two.

Completing the top ten was Andrew Jordan, a fine performance that made amends for understeering off the road at the hairpin and hitting the tyres early on in the race.

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship - Round 10 Results:

1. Gordon Shedden, Honda, 15 Laps
2. Jason Plato, Silverline, Chevrolet, +3.660s
3. Alex MacDowell, Silverline, Chevrolet, +8.067s
4. James Nash, 888, Vauxhall, +11.506s
5. Rob Collard, WSR, BMW, +15.707s
6. Nick Foster, WSR, BMW, +28.186
7. Lea Wood, Central Group Racing, Honda Integra, +28.630s
8. Matt Neal, Honda, +31.379s
9. Andy Neate, AON, Ford, +34.003s
10. Andrew Jordan, Pirtek, Vauxhall, +35.006s

Race two starts at 14:30

Tickets for the BTCC at Oulton Park are still available on the gate for £30. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click the link below.