Shedden holds position in touring car title race

When the dust had settled and the last of the articulated trailers carrying the multi-coloured British Touring Car Championship race cars had left Knockhill, the top two standings in the title race remained exactly the same as before the start of the first of the three races.

Mat Jackson speeds across the line to claim victory for the Ford team in the second race at Knockhill
Mat Jackson speeds across the line to claim victory for the Ford team in the second race at Knockhill

But as the thousands of fans and millions of TV viewers who witnessed yesterday’s three thrilling bumper-to-bumper races reflected on the exciting action, the two main protagonists, Fifer Gordon Shedden and Irishman Colin Turkington, were left contemplating what might have been.

Shedden, the 35-year-old from Dalgety Bay and the 2012 champ, entered the weekend 23 points adrift of the 32-year-old from Portadown.

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And after a swashbuckling three races fought out under clear blue skies, the two championship rivals head for Rockingham in a fortnight locked in exactly the same situation.

But the lack of a change in the positions at the top of the title race does not reflect the dazzling racing, and the highs and the lows experienced by both men.

In the opening race, won by Shedden’s Honda Racing team-mate Matt Neal, Turkington was forced to retire when he was pitched into the gravel after 
contact with Jason Plato’s MG.

With Shedden having finished third, the gap in the title race had closed to just nine points. The Scot also knew ­Turkington would start the second race from 27th on the grid, 24 places behind the Scot.

Disaster though was waiting round the corner for Shedden. At Scotsman, the tight right-hander just three corners into the 1.3-mile circuit — and at exactly the same point where Turkington had been spun out in the opening race — Shedden suffered similar contact.

Lying second behind Neal, Shedden’s car was clipped by the Audi of Rob Austin, who had earlier finished second in the opener.

Though the Scot was able to stop his Honda entering the gravel which claimed Turkington, he was left facing the wrong way on the grass verge and was forced to wait until the 31-car field had stormed by.

And while he recovered to finish 12th, even his performance was outdone by that of rival Turkington. The 2009 champ stormed through from 27th to finish fourth. The race was won by Ford’s Mat Jackson. The day’s final race, won by Turkington’s BMW team-mate Rob Collard, saw the Irishman finish third ­behind the Ford of Inverness-based Dave Newsham.

The Highlander dedicated the podium to his late mum, Dot, who sadly passed away on Thursday.

Shedden meanwhile battled through to finish sixth.

“That was a tough day at the office,” Shedden smiled afterwards. “From the highs of the opening race, to the lows of being punted out in race two: it’s what motorsport is all about.

“At the end of the action-packed day, we haven’t lost any ground to Colin, and that’s the crucial thing.

“We’ve three rounds and nine races to go, so from now on it’s flat-out all the way.”

In the Porsche Carrera Cup, Alloa’s Carol Brown impressed on her debut, winning both rounds in the Pro-Am2 Class.

“I’m really chuffed with my performances in both races,” the multiple Scottish karting and Legends champ beamed ­afterwards. “Considering the first time I sat in the Porsche was Friday, I think it’s a pretty good achievement.”