Halfords Racing with Cataclean’s Gordon Shedden impressively led from start to finish in the opening Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship contest at Donington Park, winning his first race of the season amid a challenging campaign for the Scotsman.
Fortune has not always favoured the brave three-time champion since his return to the UK’s premier motorsport series, but this triumph was rarely in doubt as he crossed the line to claim his 49th BTCC career victory.
Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing’s Dan Lloyd pressured Shedden’s Honda throughout the bout, to take his third podium from the previous four races, whilst Rory Butcher completed the rostrum positions after the Toyota man muscled by Jason Plato’s Vauxhall in an early tussle.
BTC Racing’s Senna Proctor and Team BMW’s Colin Turkington also relegated Plato further down the order, although the tin-top legend held off former team-mate Ash Sutton until the finish.
Laser Tools Racing’s Sutton produced another consistent performance, only really losing points to Turkington in the championship race, whilst the other contenders returned with mixed results.
BTC Racing’s Josh Cook was eighth, ahead of the Draper Tools-backed Hyundai of Chris Smiley and MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square’s Ollie Jackson.
It was a bittersweet top ten for Jackson as he was caught up in the only significant accident in the race, which ended the challenge of Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport’s Adam Morgan and seriously dented team-mate Jake Hill’s title aspirations.
Jackson’s #48 Ford Focus ran wide on the exit of the Old Hairpin on lap three and as he slowly re-emerged onto the tarmac, it led to contact between Morgan’s BMW and Hill’s Ford. Morgan was spun around before making heavy contact with the barrier, whilst Hill was sent tumbling down the order and out of the points-paying positions.
Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com’s Tom Ingram kept his championship hopes alive with 11th, whilst 12th equalled the best return of the season for Racing with Wera & Photon Group’s Sam Osborne.
Gordon Shedden said: “I would never say it was comfortable, but it was nice to start from the front, get into turn one and just manage the pace as best I could. Dan [Lloyd] was pushing hard; I could see Rory [Butcher] coming… it was that onslaught after the safety car, but the Civic was great. Really, really good. What a boost for the team, it’s been a little bit up and down over the last couple of races, but to start at the front and get my first race win of the year is absolutely superb.
“It’s just so close. As I’ve said, you do need the cards to fall your way and it just seemed whatever direction we turned for the last two or three events it’s not quite gone our way. But yesterday went our way, race one’s gone our way. I keep talking about momentum so hopefully we can keep that up towards the end of the season.”
Dan Lloyd said: “It’s amazing how quickly you get used to the podium! I wanted that win, I really think I had the pace on Gordon for the first half of the race and then after the safety car he definitely had the pace on me. I think our tyres switched on a little too quick in that one, so definitely some improvements to go. What a run we’re having, we’ve had more podiums in the past three weeks than I have in ten years in the BTCC, so I’m mega happy with that.
“For us, it’s really important to stay up in some clean air. Even behind Gordon then, I think we were struggling a bit towards the end of the race with the engine. But I’m just happy to be here, I’m happy for the team. It’s a real turnaround, it’s a season of two halves for us so it’s just really nice to be here.”
Rory Butcher said: “I kind of had a bit of a plan. Because I was on the outside, there was always the opportunity to try and take a risk outside of Redgate. I didn’t think I’d have to do it at the Old Hairpin as well, but I was really pleased to get into P3. Like Gordon and Dan were saying, I was pleased to be there. I wasn’t really pushing for second place. For me, I just wanted to get the podium under my belt and get a good start to the day.”
2021 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Race 1 – Donington Park
1 Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean 19 laps
2 Daniel LLOYD (GBR) Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing +1.331s
3 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK +2.524s
4 Senna PROCTOR(GBR) BTC Racing +2.789s
5 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +3.359s
6 Jason PLATO (GBR) Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing +4.300s
7 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +4.551s
8 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +7.198s
9 Chris SMILEY (GBR) Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +10.631s
10 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +11.026s
11 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +13.650s
12 Sam OSBORNE (GBR) Racing with Wera & Photon Group +13.995s
13 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +14.269s
14 Daniel ROWBOTTOM (GBR) Halfords Racing with Cataclean +16.685s
15 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team BMW +17.121s
16 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +17.887s
17 Jake HILL (GBR) MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square +18.976s
18 Árón TAYLOR-SMITH (IRL) Team HARD. with HUB Financial Solutions +20.070s
19 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +20.376s
20 Jack GOFF (GBR) Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct +20.828s
21 Sam SMELT (GBR) Toyota Gazoo Racing UK +21.345s
22 Rick PARFITT (GBR) EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +21.745s
23 Jack BUTEL (GBR) EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com +22.113s
24 Jack MITCHELL (GBR) Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct +24.122s
25 Jade EDWARDS (GBR) PHSC with BTC Racing +24.671s
26 Andy NEATE (GBR) Racing with Wera & Photon Group +27.233s
27 Carl BOARDLEY (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +29.657s
28 Nicolas HAMILTON (GBR) ROKiT Racing with iQuoto Online Trading +34.189s
29 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport +17 laps