Gordon Shedden admits that Honda will find the going tough this weekend when the BTCC heads for Oulton Park for the fourth round of the year.
The Honda driver sits second in the standings behind Speedworks’ Tom Ingram, which means he will carry 66kg of ballast onboard his Honda Civic Type-R.
Whilst that additional weight hasn’t hampered his challenge so far, the defending champion said it could well make more of an impact this weekend at a circuit where overtaking is traditionally difficult.
“Oulton Park is great fun to drive, but I’m fully expecting a tough weekend – probably one of our toughest, in fact,” he said. “It has traditionally been a rear wheel-drive circuit because they can pull away from the hairpins quicker, but Honda cars have generally been competitive there too, we’ve scored some good results over the years and the Civic Type R is a very well-balanced piece of kit.
“Being so difficult to pass at Oulton, qualifying could be make-or-break so I’ll really need to dig deep to pull something special out of the bag, particularly with 66kg of ballast on-board and the stop-start nature of the lap. The aim will be to make it as far up the grid as I can, although if I don’t manage to crack the top ten – which is a real possibility – then it will come down to playing the long game.”
Shedden added that he expected Honda to get stronger as the season wears on, leaving him feeling comfortable with the position he finds himself in after three rounds.
“The bottom line is that we’re in a better position in the championship than we were this time last year, and without the exclusion at Donington we would be in the lead,” he said. “Whilst it’s obviously disappointing not to be, we tend to get stronger over the second half of the season as we get to tracks that suit us a bit more, so there’s every reason to be optimistic right now.”