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BTCC champ Shedden: “There’s no strategy, it’s flat out”

Wednesday, September 28 2016

Reigning Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Champion Gordon Shedden has a strong chance of retaining his title at Brands Hatch this weekend (1/2 October), having reduced the gap to championship leader Sam Tordoff to just 11 points with three races to go.

A late-season run of poles and wins has hauled Gordon up the order, with the most recent victory coming in the final race at Silverstone. "We're kind of running up against the rails," the Scotsman joked. "I haven't been leading for a while but we're getting closer."

Last year Shedden held onto his pre-Brands Hatch advantage in a tense finale, but is happy to be playing the hunter this weekend: "It's a little bit different this year because theoretically there's eight people that can win it, but realistically there are six people. But actually any one of the six are in with a bloody good shout.

"The big difference is that Sam can't go and just play the conservative game. He's got to go and race, and that isn't the easiest thing to do when you're in the position he's in. He can't just sit behind me or Matt or whoever knowing he's got points in the bank, because we've seen how quickly it can change.

"This whole championship might literally boil down to the ball picked out of the bowl for the reverse grid. That could be the making or breaking of somebody's championship. I think it will fall into somebody's lap, we just don't know who it's going to be."

Having two titles under his belt means that there's an air of serenity around Gordon heading into his sixth title showdown. "It's quite cool for me, because I've said all year that I'm trying to go to Brands with a chance. We have been on the back foot and after Croft I was nowhere - ninth in the championship. Since then I've scored some good points, but now I can just race the damn thing. It doesn't really matter now, I can give it everything and get on with it - there's no strategy, it's just nail it, flat out every race and see what happens.

"I would much rather be going to Brands GP to win the championship than Silverstone, put it that way!"

There is an additional dimension to the weekend for Gordon. If he wins the title and matches Matt Neal's achievements of two in succession and three overall, he'll also have scuppered what could be his team-mate's best chance of a record-equalling fourth title. That the two works Hondas are within a couple of points is proof of just how competitive the pair have been in 2016. The team's famous harmony could be tested this weekend.

"Yes, we've always said that we've got to try and get one of the Civics across the line first," Gordon said. "Obviously the way the scenarios work means we're really close, but it will ebb and flow a bit as the day goes on. We're both aware that we need to monitor it after qualifying and then lap by lap of the races as to the best way to proceed.

"[Winning three titles] would be cool, but I think there's going to be a lot to play for. Fine, I'm second in the championship, but I might end up sixth after the weekend, it's that close. I'm pretty chilled out about it. I always feel that I'm a little bit on the back foot, so there isn't really any expectations, I'm sure it'll be exciting."

Tickets for this weekend's BTCC finale at Brands Hatch on 1/2 October are available in advance from £27, with free entry for under-13s. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click   here.