Q&A with BTCC champ Gordon Shedden 11 | 08 | 2017

    DEFENDING CHAMP GORDON SHEDDEN heads to Knockhill this weekend bidding to increase his slender two-point lead in the British Touring Car Championship. (Related: Exclusive — Rory Butcher BTCC interview)

    But before firing up his all-conquering Honda Civic, the 38-year-old from Auchterarder — bidding to win the title for a fourth time, and third in succession — spoke with Scotcars’ Jim McGill.

    In our Q&A, Gordon admits he faces ‘grinding out’ a result this week as he carries the maximum 75kg success ballast into qualifying and the opening race on Sunday.

    He also highlights how he expects to face stiff competition from the BMWs and Subarus, but still aims to give the thousands of Scots attending Knockhill something to cheer.

    Jim McGill: How do you assess the season so far?

    Gordon Shedden: It’s been pretty good, to be fair. I’ve never led the BTCC at the halfway point of the season, so that’s a big positive, and a first for me. It’s in complete contrast to this time last year where I was about 50 points off the lead.

    Having said all that, I’m completely aware of how quickly things can turn round — as it did, from a positive perspective, for me in 2016 — so I’m certainly not taking anything for granted this season.

    Gordon-Shedden-Knockhill-Preview-2.jpg

    JM: How significant was winning that last race at Snetterton, especially after the problems you had in qualifying, which meant you started Race 1 from 21st on the grid?

    GS: Yeh, that was a really, really good one. We were obviously having a really tough weekend, but to be able, to somehow — and even now, I’m not sure how we achieved it — to finish on a win was an unexpected bonus. On the Saturday afternoon, a win anytime over the weekend looked exceedingly unlikely. (Related: Shedden wins Snetterton finale)

    But you don’t win championships on your good weekends. You win them on the bad ones when you overcome unforeseen hurdles and score good points when everything seems to be lined up against you. So yeh, Snetterton was really important.

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    JM: Of course, leading the championship means you go into qualifying this weekend, and the opening race at Knockhill, carrying the maximum 75kg success ballast. That’s not ideal for any circuit, let alone Knockhill.

    GS: You’re right, it’s not ideal. But that’s what we have to deal with, and we need to make the best we can with what we have.

    It might well be a similar situation for me this weekend at Knockhill, where I have a tough Saturday, but then need to work hard in the opening two races on Sunday to put me in with a  chance of a podium, or a win, in the final race.

    Certainly I’m hopeful that my performance will improve throughout Sunday as I shed weight while others at the front gain it.

    JM: I assume you see the main threats this weekend coming from the BMWs and Subarus?

    GS: Yeh, the rear-wheel drive cars are generally pretty good round here. Historically the BMWs have won a huge number of races round the Knockhill circuit; the track certainly suits them, which certainly isn’t ideal from my perspective.

    However, we’ve got used to grinding out good results and making the best of any situation we find ourselves in, and I guess that’s what we’ll have to do again this weekend. We’ll keep our head down and see where we go.

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    JM: Does that mean it’s almost a case of damage limitation this weekend?

    GS: Yeh, it’s about accumulating points. It might not look pretty, but I’ll certainly be doing the best I possibly can. (Related: Shedden reflects on triple BTCC title)

    JM: It’s about having that championship-winning mentality, which means accruing points whenever, and however you can, especially when you’re up against it?

    GS: Exactly. You know, there are different ways to do it. It might mean I need to take a little bit of pain early in the day, then lose some weight, and hopefully put me in the position to score more points later in an unorthodox way. That might be what it boils down to.

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    JM: There are times when you just need to grind it out?

    GS: Exactly. And as we know, the tracks coming up over the final race weekends of the year will suit different cars. As I’ve always said, I just need to make sure I’m in the mix for the title when we get to Brands Hatch for the finale.

    JM: Finally, it must still be a fantastic feeling to be racing in front of your home support at Knockhill?

    GS: Oh yeh, without a shadow of a doubt. It’s nice to sleep in your own bed and do the normal things you do at home … then go racing in the best championship in the country. What could be better?

    Related: Video — BTCC banter with Shedden and Butcher

    Keep up-to-date with all the latest news by following us on twitter.com/Scotcars

    Jim McGill

     

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