BTCC Brands Hatch Review: Gordon Shedden Snatches the Title

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A BTCC finals day is always full of tension and twists as five previous champions went into the day with a mathematical chance of the title but only one was able to come out on top.

Qualifying did certainly spice up the prospect of race one as the top three championship contenders Gordon Shedden, Jason Plato and Colin Turkington all started next to each other in the middle of the top ten whilst Matt Neal and Andrew Jordan were slightly further down. Mat Jackson claimed another pole from Aron Smith and Adam Morgan. Race one got underway with Jackson making a good start as did Colin Turkington who managed to get past Shedden and up into fourth. Neal made his way up the pack and was soon able to sit behind Shedden who had fallen behind Plato and protect his team mate from any attacks. Race one was a fairly cagey race but it was to be expected as even though the championship couldn’t be won it certainly could have been lost to the main protagonists were happy to sit and gain solid points. The top three stayed the same the whole way as Jackson took another win in the second half of the season.

An effect of race one was that Shedden wasn’t able to set a fast enough lap for the top ten so started in 13th whilst Plato and Turkington were just inside the top ten in eighth and ninth. Race two saw the big twist everyone was accepting in the race as leader Shedden struggled with straight line speeds and gremlins in the car and finished down in a low 19th place hindering his chances in race 3. The race played out similarly to the first as Jackson won in fine style again but this time from up and coming drivers Adam Morgan and Tom Ingram. Race two did see Neal, Turkington and Jordan fall out of contention as all struggled in particular Turkington who got a puncture in the closing stages. Plato managed another sixth place finish perfectly placed to go for the title in the final race.

Almost as if was written in the stars, ball number seven was pulled to go on pole for the final race meaning Matt Neal would start first alongside old nemesis Jason Plato. The ramifications were clear: if Plato was second, Shedden needed tenth, if he won Shedden needed sixth. After a series of three safety cars Shedden was up to 11th and now on a mission to clinch his second title. What followed was nothing short of phenomenal as Shedden pulled off a series of incredible overtakes carving his way through the field and up into fifth place with Neal up ahead in third, Shedden had finally reached the position he needed and with a lap to go Neal slowed down to let both Shedden and Jack Goff past and held off any other attack. The Honda Yuassa racing drivers played out the perfect example of how teams worked together and as the sun went down over Brands Hatch Shedden crossed the line in flying formation with Neal to claim the title. All the battles that took place during that race let the season finish in the way it deserved, one, if not the best of the entire year.

Gordon Shedden won the 2015 British Touring Car Championship by 4 points from Plato. Turkington claimed his fifth independent drivers’ championship doing an incredible job in his first year back in a front wheel drive car and Josh Cook claimed the Jack Sears trophy given to the best placed rookie, fully deserved through some great racing this year. The countdown is on for the 2016 championship, it begins again Brands Hatch Indy circuit in 172 days.

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