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BTCC's Honda duo ready to fight at Snetterton this weekend

Thursday, July 27 2017

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship title leaders Halfords Yuasa Racing is ready to defend its position at the top of the table when the 2017 season resumes at Snetterton this weekend (29/30 July).

Reigning champion Gordon Shedden is bidding for a third title in a row and his fourth overall and starts the weekend leading the standings by 11 points from his nearest rival, BMW's Rob Collard.

 "I'm certainly going to Snetterton in a much better position than I did last year, when I was a long way behind in the standings," Gordon said. "The flipside to that, obviously, is having to carry maximum ballast and that could mean we are in for a tough couple of meetings over the next few weeks, but as I always say, I'll take the points in the bag any day.

"Qualifying and race one at Snetterton are likely to be difficult with the weight so it will probably be a question of playing the long game again, but the Civic Type R was quick there last year and Matt reported positive feedback from the tyre test earlier this month too, which is encouraging."

Shedden won't be paying too much attention to his championship position, however, because he's started the season's second half from eighth and first in the standings over the last two years, yet in both cases he won the title.

"The BTCC is so unpredictable and there are a lot of fast cars out there, and we all know how quickly things can change in this championship," he said. "We just need to focus on our own job and make the best of every single opportunity - anything else, we can't worry about."

Team-mate Matt Neal has a little more work to do, starting the weekend in sixth place, 53 points behind Shedden, with 67 on offer at Snetterton. However, the three-time champion is raring to go after the seven-week layoff.

"I love the summer break, but it's always great to go racing again," Matt said. "It's been enjoyable to have a bit of time off - I went to the British Grand Prix, followed Wimbledon and the Tour de France, caught up with people and even managed to squeeze in a bit of R&R - so I'm feeling refreshed and ready to get back on it now.

"There's a lot still to fight for and with what we've seen over the opening five events, as many as ten drivers can realistically win the title. I think I'm driving pretty well, but results escaped me a bit during the first half of the season so most of all, I'm hoping for a change of luck over the second half.

"I think there's no question that 'Flash' and I have the car to do the job - the Civic Type R has been really strong everywhere we've been and is a tough act to beat - but with success ballast and other championship regulations that impact upon performance, you just never know how it's going to go so we'll see how we get on."

Tickets for the BTCC at Snetterton are available on the gate for £15 on Saturday and £34 on Sunday, with free entry for under-13s. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.