Race one

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Pole po­si­tions are like busses for Shed­den. He had taken his first top spot for two sea­sons at Snet­ter­ton, and he re­peated it af­ter a storm-in­ter­rupted 30-minute ses­sion at Rock­ing­ham. He was fast be­fore the stop­page and even faster af­ter it to line up ahead of Mat Jack­son’s Fo­cus and the im­pres­sive Josh Cook in the MG.

At the other end of the grid, there were the three BMW 125i M Sports of Goff (25th), Col­lard (26th) and points leader Tordoff. All three had suf­fered with wa­ter in the electrics dur­ing the sod­den ses­sion, and none could set a rep­re­sen­ta­tive lap time be­cause of that.

It was time for Honda’s Matt Neal, sec­ond in the points, to ram home any ad­van­tage he could eek from the event ahead. He would start on the fourth row.

In the end, the race was all about Shed­den, who dom­i­nated to such an ex­tent that he vaulted into third in the points af­ter a trou­ble-free 18 laps.

The Honda man was made to work hard over the open­ing two cor­ners as Mat Jack­son got a bet­ter launch and ran sideby-side with Shed­den through Turn One and down to the Deane Hair­pin. Shed­den reached the apex first, and he was gone.

“There was a lot of pres­sure from Mat at the start, but once I had fended him off, he had his wing mir­rors full on Subarus so I was able to get clear,” said Shed­den.

Even an early safety car could not put Shed­den off his stride. In­deed, he timed the res­tart to per­fec­tion and was 0.7s clear when rac­ing re­sumed for good on lap four.

“I could see that the Porsche safety car was gone and no one was bunch­ing up be­hind me – I didn’t need a sec­ond in­vi­ta­tion!” he said. “I was able to back it off over the fi­nal laps be­cause I know that tyres are an is­sue here and I was just be­ing care­ful. I avoided the kerbs and just brought it home.”

He was 2.5s to the good as he took the che­quered flag, and that had been helped by an­other epic de­fen­sive job by Jack­son to hold off the Team BMR Subaru Levorg GTS of Ja­son Plato and Colin Turk­ing­ton. The three ran in line astern through­out the event, with Jack­son un­der huge pres­sure ev­ery lap.

“We all had such equal straight-line per­for­mance,” said Jack­son. “It was a great race. The Subaru was strong through the cor­ners and they had great trac­tion out of the slower bits, so that was giv­ing me some cause for con­cern, so I was hav­ing to de­fend hard. The car was mov­ing about all over the place be­cause I was on the limit.”

Third-placed Plato and Turk­ing­ton had both usurped third-placed qual­i­fier Cook’s MG away from the line. From then on, Plato was in the in­vid­i­ous po­si­tion of hav­ing to at­tack for sec­ond while look­ing to his mir­rors to de­fend his third from Turk­ing­ton be­hind.

“I was com­pro­mised a cou­ple of times when I was hav­ing a look at Mat, and I had to be aware of Colin, who was able to gain when I did that,” said Plato. “I knew he wouldn’t do any­thing silly though, and I am pleased with third.”

Turk­ing­ton took the flag in fourth, but was handed a time penalty for an in­ci­dent with Cook along the way. It handed Cook fourth, with Turk­ing­ton fifth.

Ash­ley Sut­ton (MG) was sixth. An­drew Jor­dans’ Ford had ben­e­fited from scrapes ahead to climb from 14th on the grid to sev­enth, ahead of Neal and re­turnee Dave New­sham in the Power Maxed Chevro­let.

But per­haps the per­for­mance of the race came from the trou­bled Tordoff. He was in a fully func­tion­ing car for the races and wasted no time in slic­ing through the back­mark­ers in an at­tempt to limit the dam­age that this race would un­doubt­edly do to his points lead. He made up seven spots on the open­ing lap, and picked them off one-by-one to make it in to the top 15 by 10 laps. Even­tu­ally, he landed 10th place.

“To fin­ish 10th was re­mark­able – it was a dif­fer­ent car and it was great,” he said. “And now it means I have no weight ei­ther for the sec­ond race. It was a proper dam­age lim­i­ta­tion.”

Col­lard, on the harder op­tion of Dun­lop rub­ber be­cause he wanted to get all of his bal­last and tyre pain out of the way early, was in Tordoff ’s wheel­tracks un­til the Dun­lops faded and he dropped to 14th.

CAR Weather:

Team Dynamics Honda Civic Type R Mo­tor­base Per­for­mance Ford Fo­cus Team BMR Subaru Levorg Triple Eight Rac­ing MG6 Team BMR Subaru Levorg Triple Eight Rac­ing MG6 Mo­tor­base Per­for­mance Ford Fo­cus Team Dynamics Honda Civic Type R Power Maxed Rac­ing Chevro­let Cruze WSR BMW 125i M Sport

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