Shedden targeting Knockhill winposted in BTCC21 | 08 | 2015

    A FORTNIGHT AGO Gordon Shedden could have been forgiven for thinking he'd gone stock car racing at Cowdenbeath Racewall rather than the British Touring Car Championship at Snetterton. The Fifer, and his Honda Civic Type R took a battering.

    This weekend, the 36-year-old former champ from Dalgety Bay is praying for a change in luck when the BTCC makes its annual pilgrimage to Knockhill, in Fife.

    As he shielded his eyes from the sun in South Queensferry — prior to partnering fellow Scot, Lesmahagow's Derek Palmer and his Support Our Paras Racing Infiniti, as they drove across the Forth Road Bridge — Shedden admitted Snetterton had been "the worst weekend of his racing career".

    The Scot had rocked up at Snetterton leading the title race by 10 points: he left having slipped to third, 32 points behind the Volkswagen of new leader, double champ Jason Plato.

    "Yeh, I've had better weekends," Shedden smiled. "Snetterton, without any question, was the worst weekend of my racing career."

    Technical problems handicapped his Honda Civic Type R in qualifying and he could only manage 16th on the 28-car grid.

    Stuck mid-pack, he could only finish 14th in the opening race, before being forced to retire in the carnage of race two having been hit by his team-mate, Matt Neal.

    Starting 26th in the day's finale, he battled through to 15th before his car again suffered damage: he pitted and rejoined eventually being classified 24th.

    Shedden though has been in BTCC long enough to know his luck, and that of others, can change quickly.

    "You would expect a bit of bad luck as the season goes on, but to get that amount of it in one go was a bit of a shock, to put it politely," he continued.

    "It almost got to the point where it became comical, it was that bad. But it could easily happen to other people as well this weekend. And hopefully my luck will change."

    While the 2012 champ heads to Knockhill bidding to win on home soil for the first time since 2011, he admits to focusing on much-needed points to kickstart his title surge.

    Related: Homecoming for Palmer and Paras

    "I need to go to Brands Hatch for the season finale being right in the mix to win the title," Shedden said, "and that means this weekend's target is banking as many points as I can. If that means getting a couple of podiums and a fourth or fifth, that's fine."

    Plato meanwhile is bidding to build on his 100 BTCC victories, though his last win at Knockhill came in 2010.

    "Mate, I'm definitely targeting a win at Knockhill," the BTCC's biggest showman stated positively. "Why else would I turn up. The racing's always frantic at Knockhill, but that's great for the fans.

    "Me? Yeh I want to win, but I need points to ease me towards that third title."

    While Plato and Shedden battle over the title, for Palmer it's a new experience. He and his fledgling Support Our Paras Racing team, based in Lesmahagow, will be racing at Knockhill for the first time in BTCC.

    "It's been a tough season so far," Palmer, who lies second in the Jack Sears Trophy for BTCC rookies, "but we had our best result of the season when we finished 15th at Snetterton, so we're aiming to build on that."

    Related: Palmer and Paras back road safety initiative

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    Jim McGill


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