HONDA YUASA STARS TARGET TITLE IN FINALE
Honda Yuasa Racing Team aces Gordon ‘Flash’ Shedden and Matt Neal will be aiming to secure two more Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship titles at the final round at Brands Hatch this weekend.
Honda secured the manufacturers’ crown last time out at Silverstone and Honda Yuasa / Team Dynamics is in a strong position to clinch the teams’ title. In the drivers’ title race, Shedden leads MG rival Jason Plato by 15 points, with reigning champion Neal another 16 points further back.
Both Honda drivers could still become champion and Shedden is looking forward to the showdown on the Grand Prix circuit.
“I’m excited and feel really good,” he said. “It’s what it’s all about, working towards the final round with a chance to win the title.
“We’ll approach it normally. The most important thing is to do the best job I can and get the car working well. What will be will be.”
Shedden narrowly lost the 2011 title to Neal, who secured his third BTCC championship in the very last race, and Flash believes it is now his turn.
“It was heartbreaking last year to get so close, though it was great for a Honda to get a one-two,” added the 33-year-old.
“I think three’s enough now – I need a go! We’ve got to get one of us over the line first and I want it to be me.”
Neal, who will be running 27kg of success ballast compared to Shedden’s 45kg in the first Brands race, has not given up on his hopes of BTCC title number four, but hasn’t ruled out helping his team-mate if required.
“I’m not giving up because it can easily turnaround,” said Neal. “We’ll give it our all on Saturday [in qualifying] and then see where we’re at.
“I want second place in the championship back. To do that I’ve got to beat Jason. Gordon doesn’t need to beat Jason to win the championship, but if I need to help him I will.”
He also believes the Honda Civics should be helped by the turbo boost restriction rules in the series, which hurt the team at Silverstone, because they will get extra boost for Brands.
“For the first time we’re going to come off base boost, which is amazing,” added Neal. “The pressure is off a little bit and I’m really looking forward to it.
Shedden and Neal are also both fans of the Brands GP circuit. “It’s a great track,” said Shedden. “You’ll struggle to find a driver who doesn’t like it and I love it.”
Neal believes it is a fitting venue for the title decider. “Brands GP is just fantastic,” he said. “There are technical sections, fast corners and the atmosphere – it’s a great place to finish the season.”
The Brands action gets under way at 09:25am on Saturday with free practice. Qualifying is at 2:55pm, and the first of three races on Sunday is scheduled for 11:32am.