Shedden bags pole for BTCC opener

Fifer Gordon Shedden got his British Touring Car Championship campaign off to the best possible start when he qualified his Team Honda Civic on pole position for tomorrow’s opening triple-header at Thruxton.

The 30-year-old from Dalgety Bay topped the timesheets for the first time in two years after lapping the 2.4-mile Hampshire circuit in 1min 24.061secs to pip the Vauxhall of double champ Fabrizio Giovanardi by 0.256s.

“What a fantastic way to start the season,” Shedden, bidding to add to his 10 BTCC victories, said today. “We knew from pre-season testing at Brands Hatch that the car was fast and to carry that into the first race weekend is a big boost.

“We knew the session was likely to get wetter with rain forecast, so we made sure we got  a good, fast lap in early. Then, as the rain started to fall I knew everybody else would struggle to get anywhere near me.

“As usual with these races, the start will be crucial and I have to make sure I’m leading into the first corner. After that it’ll be a case of keeping my nose in front and staying out of trouble. We’ve proved we’re quick; now we have to carry it into the race.”

Shedden’s Team Honda team-mate, former champ Matt Neal, was nudged off the front row in the final few seconds of the 30-minute qualifying session. The Englishman will start the race third alongside Andrew Jordan’s Vauxhall.

Pre-season championship favourite Jason Plato will start tomorrow’s opening race from fifth on the grid. The former champ clocked a best lap of 1:24.868s in his Chevrolet Cruze.

*Dundee-born Lewis Williamson will start the opening round of the British Formula Renault Championship from pole position. Williamson, now based in Golspie and making his debut in the championship, topped the timesheets with a time of 1min 14.736secs.

The Scot outpaced his Manor Motorsport team-mate Will Stevens by 0.950s. The Englishman starts fourth with the Fortec car of Swede Tom Blomqvist second, 0.384 off pole.

Stevens though starts on pole for tomorrow’s second race with Blomqvist alongside him. Williamson lines up fourth, just 0.299s off the pace of his Manor team-mate.


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