Shedden denies Wrathall first victory in race two

Honda’s Gordon Shedden took back the championship lead with victory in race two at Rockingham today, but he did it under intense pressure from the charging Frank Wrathall.

Race one winner Jason Plato again held his pole position to lead the field through the first corners, while the start of the race was made initially by WSR’s Nick Foster who jumped up to third before being muscled out by the two Hondas in the hairpin melee back to sixth.

Plato and Paul O’Neill led the field around first lap before Shedden – now without the 45kg of success ballast – made his move and passed O’Neill for second place heading into Deene hairpin, while Wrathall repeated the move on Matt Neal behind them for fourth.

The pace of Shedden loked ominous, and on lap four he dived up the inside into the hairpin again to take the lead from Plato, Wrathall again copying the move this time on O’Neill for third place before outbraking Plato for second place at the same corner shortly afterwards.

TechSpeed Chevrolet Cruze driver O’Neill then came under pressure from Neal, who slid up the inside to take fourth with both drivers on the limit of braking into the hairpin.

The top three cars were then glued together ornumerous laps at mid distance, with Wrathall putting huge pressure on Shedden, briefly getting alongside the Honda into the final chicane.

Wrathall could not quite find a chance to overtake the leader, and Shedden went on the take victory by a car’s length to take back the championship lead by five points over Neal, denying Wrathall a dream win in the NGTC Toyota Avensis.

“The car was absolutely awesome in that race getting rid of 45 kilos makes a big difference and I’m delighted to get the win We’re getting intot he final corner really well and it’s really good on the brakes. It’s important to get a win this weekend”, Shedden told ITV4.

Second place was a sensational result for rookie Wrathall and the DynoJet team, Frank telling ITV4: “I didnt make a good start again but I was able to use my car’s strengths to get up to second, and once I was behind Gordon there was areas where I was a bit stronger and unfortunately in the crucial areas he was stronger.

“We’ve got the car working so good on the brakes and he was just very good on the straights and on the banking. With the amount of work they’ve put into this it’s good to repay them.”

The pair dropped Plato quickly which set the Chevrolet driver up into a battle with big rival Neal, although Neal’s move at the hairpin on lap 14 was a fairly tame one that put both Honda drivers on the podium.

Fifth place went to the charging Foster, who continued his fantastic weekend by passing James Nash’s Triple Eight Vectra with a great run out of Pif Paf corner, before making his lunge on O’Neill stick into Tarzan on the penultimate lap.

O’Neill dropped behind Nash on the last lap into seventh, while behind them there were battles everywhere you looked, with Jeff Smith for Eurotech driving a sensational race in teh Vauxhall Vectra to come across the line in eighth place from a long way down the grid, ahead of Rob Austin and Rob Collard.

Austin had a race that was chaotic at times in the NGTC Audi, making contact with Alex MacDowall early in the race that spun the Chevrolet driver, as well as contact with Mat Jackson that left the Motorbase driver with a lose rear door.

Collard meanwhile had an equally exciting race, starting wen he went from the near the back of the field to 11th at the start, only to be bumped out at turn three and forced to recover throught the pack, avoiding a moment when Andy Neate spun at turn four and nearly collected team-mate Tom Onslow-Cole.

Double BTCC champion James Thompson will have made Collard a happy man after the race by drawing number 10 and pole position for the WSR driver in the reverse grid race, which will take place later today.

Race two results:

 1.  Gordon Shedden   Honda                 23m06.832s
2.  Frank Wrathall   Dynojet Toyota          + 0.380s
3.  Matt Neal        Honda                   + 4.576s
4.  Jason Plato      Chevrolet               + 5.952s
5.  Nick Foster      WSR BMW                + 12.895s
6.  James Nash       Triple 8 Vauxhall      + 15.852s
7.  Paul O’Neill     Tech-Speed Chevrolet   + 16.673s
8.  Jeff Smith       Eurotech Vauxhall      + 16.874s
9.  Rob Austin       Rob Austin Audi        + 23.549s
10.  Rob Collard      WSR BMW                + 25.848s
11.  Tom Chilton      Arena Ford             + 27.566s
12.  Tom Onslow-Cole  Arena Ford             + 27.837s
13.  Andrew Jordan    Eurotech Vauxhall      + 28.349s
14.  Tony Gilham      Geoff Steel BMW        + 28.784s
15.  Alex MacDowall   Chevrolet              + 30.166s
16.  Liam Griffin     Motorbase Ford         + 42.161s
17.  Chris James      ES Chevrolet           + 43.167s
18.  Martin Byford    AmD Volkswagen         + 44.328s
19.  John George      Tech-Speed Chevrolet     + 1 lap
DNF     Mat Jackson      Motorbase Ford           14 laps
DNF     Andy Neate       Arena Ford               13 laps
DNF     Daniel Welch     Welch Proton              8 laps
DNF     Michael Caine    Motorbase Ford            8 laps
DNF     Tom Boardman     Special Tuning SEAT       5 laps
DNF     Dave Newsham     Special Tuning SEAT       0 laps


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