Podium day for Halfords Racing
A superb day to round out the British Touring Car Championship netted a podium in each race at Brands Hatch yesterday for Halfords Racing with Cataclean.
Drivers Gordon Shedden and Dan Rowbottom were at the pointy end of the order all weekend, with Dan topping the times in the weekend-opening free practice session and netting second place in race three, while Gordon bagged a third place in races
one and two having been fastest in the second free practice session. The results boosted each driver in the championship and helped the team in its own competition.
Having been rapid in free practice, Dan and Gordon lined up third and fourth for race one, Dan’s best lap being spoiled when he came across Jade Edwards (Honda Civic) who, although on a quick lap, impeded Rowbo on a flier. Gordon lined up fourth, just under a tenth slower than his team-mate.
At the start of the first race of the weekend, both bolted away from the line to try to combat the front row Hondas of Josh Cook and Senna Proctor. Gordon jumped past Dan who then had to fend off the attack of Dan Lloyd’s Vauxhall, which ultimately wriggled by. Flash in the meantime set off in pursuit of Proctor but couldn’t get close enough to mount a serious attack, although he did set the fastest lap of the race in his pursuit.
“I gained a bit here and lost a bit there,” explained Flash, “but I didn’t have the extra performance to pass. Still, I am liking these podium finishes!”
With Gordon third and Dan fifth in the opening race, that was from where they would start race two but now with extra weight, Flash carrying 57 kilos and 39 kilos for Dan. It was Josh Cook again who led, despite the maximum race-winning ballast in the car, while Flash had to fight to get past a quick-starting Dan Lloyd (Vauxhall Astra), but again with the cars so evenly matched it was impossible for the triple champion to mount an attack. As Gordon headed for third, Dan was under massive pressure from Colin Turkington (BMW 330i M Sport) and a tiny slide at Paddock Hill Bend allowed Turkington to squeeze up the inside heading to Druids. Once alongside, Turkington went ahead and relegated Dan to fifth.
On the reverse grid for race three, Rowbo would start fifth, again with 39 kilos and Flash would go from seventh with 57 kilos weighing him down. Dan made a good start to move ahead of Rory Butcher’s Toyota before wriggling past Stephen Jelley and then setting off after Ash Sutton’s race- leading Infiniti. A safety car period to remove stricken cars didn’t help Rowbo as it allowed Sutton’s tyres a chance to take a breather and the front-wheel drive Honda took longer to get its rubber back up to temperature on the restart. That enabled Sutton to build the lead for the win, with Rowbo’s standout season concluding with second place, Gordon in seventh as the extra weight told its own story.
Dan confirmed his Jack Sears Trophy title success by taking three more wins bringing a season tally of 23 victories from 30 races, while an outright win, two seconds and a third his season tally. Gordon took two wins, three seconds and four third places in a season that had its ups and downs.
At the end of the season, Gordon placed sixth and Dan ninth in the overall championship, with them fifth and sixth respectively in the Independent Drivers’ competition. Halfords Racing with Cataclean secured third in the Teams’ Championship and second in the Independent Teams’ Championship.
Reflecting on the season, Dan said: “It’s been a good season, but frustrating at times. I came into the season aiming for the Jack Sears Trophy and to win that was mission accomplished. A win and two poles proved what I am capable of and so now I re-set my expectations and aims for 2022 and go out to win the title. I have always raced to win the BTCC outright and I’m ready to go again and bid to win the championship.”
The 2022 British Touring Car Championship kicks off at Donington Park on April 23/24.