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Shedden: “We’re ready to go at it hammer and tongs again!”

Thursday, March 27 2014

Last year's Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship runner-up Gordon Shedden is hoping that victory on the Grand Prix circuit last year has put his Brands Hatch curse behind him, as he prepares to return to the track this weekend (29/30 March)

"I keep saying that every year," he joked. "I haven't had a blinding first round ever at Brands ever! I've always left with either one or two non-finishes. I'm desperate to try and stop the rot, and if I can score some decent points here at Brands, that'll be a perfect way for me to start my season."

Gordon will be trying his luck, however, with a brand Civic Tourer, albeit one heavily based on the NGTC Civic that he drove to his maiden BTCC title in 2012. Much of the testing has been completed by team mate Matt Neal in a converted hatchback, but Gordon's has been built from the ground up. There are no differences, as he explains: "Both the cars are the same, mine obviously is a little bit later getting completed, but it was important to do some back-to-back testing with the hatch and the Tourer. It's quite tricky in some areas, but we're getting closer to the sweet spot every time we run the car."

Even so, Gordon is not going to make any predictions ahead of round one based on testing: "You don't know what people are playing at in testing, you don't know what weight people are running, or what tyres they're on. We've seen in the past in all championships, sometimes on test days and media days people do lightning fast times and then it comes to the crunch and it all settles itself down."

After an inconsistent defence to his 2012 title, Gordon has his eyes on consistency, so this weekend will be the perfect test for his plan. He also takes solace from ending up just seven points shy of the winner: "Yeah, I think I had a fairly turbulent year last year, that's probably the best way to put it. I had five non-finishes, compared to Andy's one, and you just can't win it with that. However I pushed really hard right to the end, took it right down to the last race, and won the last race. That at least asked the question that Andy had to score something and he could have fallen off, or broken down and then I would have retained my championship. But I think to be fair on balance, he did a cracking job last year and deserved to pick up the championship. But now we're all back level again, and we can go at it hammer and tongs again!"

Tickets for the opening round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch on 29/30 March are available from £26, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.