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New BTCC Champion Shedden: "It’s fantastic, I can’t stop smiling”

Monday, October 03 2016

New Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Champion Gordon Shedden spoke to MSV this morning, just hours after winning his third title in a thrilling eight-way fight in front of an enormous crowd on the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit.

"It's unexpected but fantastic," said Gordon, who became the first driver to successfully defend a BTCC title since Fabrizio Giovanardi in 2008. "To back-to-back it is out of this world, I'm dead chuffed."

Having gained points on title leader Sam Tordoff throughout the day, Shedden entered the final race of the season a mere two points behind. Despite losing ground at the start, the Scotsman caught up to his rival, and pounced at Clearways a lap after a safety car restart.

"It just seemed like a better balance in the car in the third race," Gordon explained. "He shot off at the start and I thought it was going to take a bit of clawing back, but the early safety car helped a little bit. We had good pace in the car and I knew I just had to get the job done quickly while our car was working well.

"Sam was philosophical about it. You forget he is only 27, his time will come sooner rather than later and he's driven really well all year. I'm sure he'll learn from the experience of going through a championship-deciding weekend and he'll come back stronger."

Gordon's three titles means that he now matches team-mate Matt Neal's modern-day benchmark. Neal also had a shot of the championship and entered the weekend just two points behind Shedden, but an engine cut in race two led to him being tagged by Ash Sutton, sending him into a series of spins before hitting the barriers out of Druids. He was ruled out of the finale under doctors' orders.

"Matt has a bit of concussion," Gordon said. "He'll be absolutely fine but he can't take any risks, so therefore he couldn't race in race three yesterday. He'll come back fitter, faster and stronger than ever next year, and we'll all go at it again."

Next year's championship will begin at Brands Hatch on 1/2 April, but despite his success, will be forgiven for some trepidation about returning to the short circuit. "The Indy circuit has never been particularly kind to me," said Gordon, who won here in the spring before retiring with a puncture. "The Grand Prix circuit seems to click and it's my kind of circuit - I absolutely love it and I just revel when we get to go through the trees on the GP loop."

Gordon will also be revelling in the aftermath of his third title for some time, as he admits that this one is something special. "The first one [in 2012] was complete shell-shock, and the second was just insane with what happened over the weekend. This year's been really calm, but actually that made it much easier to enjoy the moment when it all happened yesterday, so I still can't stop smiling."

Tickets for all MSV rounds of the 2017 BTCC season will be on sale shortly.