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Smith wins the battle as Shedden takes the BTCC crown

Sunday, October 21 2012

Aron Smith has taken his maiden win in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship as Gordon Shedden finished second to take his first championship title. In a wet race full of incident, the key contenders once again featured in a finely-poised close contest.

Andrew Jordan made another poor start from the front row, while the BMW's superior traction gave Tom Onslow-Cole the lead, with Smith challenging Matt Neal at Druids. A push from Jason Plato meant that Shedden and Rob Collard tangled at Druids, calling for the safety car as he and Will Bratt were stranded at the hairpin, with Adam Morgan also in trouble from the incident. Ironically this series of events gave Jordan the Independents' title.

As the field circulated behind the safety car, Onslow-Cole led Smith, Neal and Shedden. Meanwhile, Jordan was sat between the championship leader and Plato and with his title won, thoughts turned to how this intriguing situation would unravel once the race got back underway.

Chaos reigned as the race restarted, with Smith taking the lead as first Nick Foster, Daniel Welch and Andy Neate were off at Paddock, then Dave Newsham left the circuit on the run out of Druids after contact with Plato. Sure enough, the race was neutralised once more.

The safety car pulled in to the pits at the halfway point, with Onslow-Cole caught out by a charging Smith. Neal was unable to take the BMW however, heading a line of four Hondas, with Plato in between the Pirtek cars. Neal let Shedden through to chase after the leaders, and kept an eye on the MG, as Jordan looked for a way past.

Onslow-Cole then ran wide at Surtees, putting the works Hondas on the podium. The BMW driver's race deteriorated still further after contact with Aaron Williamson, who had been hit by Morgan, himself punted off by Neate.

Meanwhile as Smith ran ahead in the lead, the championship leader posted the race's fastest lap, despite being in a position to win the title. He continued to make an impression on the Focus, keen to take the crown with a win, his first on the circuit.

However Smith was too strong and as Shedden settled for championship glory, he lead fellow title contenders Neal, Jordan and Plato home. There were fine finishes too for Frank Wrathall, Jeff Smith and Rob Austin, whilst Mat Jackson ended the race in seventh place, which was drawn as pole position for race three.

An ecstatic Shedden said: "I'm a bit happy! It's been a long time coming but even when I finished I didn't know it was enough. Everyone has been so supportive and now we've got to make sure Matt gets second to make it a clean sweep for everybody. I've got a lot of ballast, but I'll give race three a go. To be honest I've been flat out all day and I'm not sure there's much left in the tank!"

The final race takes place at 16:45 today.

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship Race 2

1, Aron Smith, Redstone Racing, Ford Focus ST, 18 Laps
2, Gordon Shedden, Honda Yuasa Racing Team, Honda Civic, +2.615s
3, Matt Neal, Honda Yuasa Racing Team, Honda Civic, +4.489s
4, Andrew Jordan, Pirtek Racing, Honda Civic, +4.979s
5, Jason Plato, MG KX Momentum Racing, MG6, +8.829s
6, Frank Wrathall, Dynojet, Toyota Avensis, +9.503s
7, Mat Jackson, Redstone Racing, Ford Focus ST, +9.699s
8, Jeff Smith, Pirtek Racing, Honda Civic, +13.835s
9, Lea Wood, BINZ Racing, Vauxhall Vectra, +14.125s
10, Rob Austin, Rob Austin Racing, Audi A4, +19.418s

Championship positions
1, Gordon Shedden, 393
2, Matt Neal, 370
3, Jason Plato, 368
4, Andrew Jordan, 333

Tickets for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship on 21 October are available on the gate for £30, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.