27 June 2014
Croft Circuit: Honda looking to progress from Oulton
Honda looking to attack on 'happy hunting ground' at Croft for this weekend's BTCC round.
Honda believe they arrive at this weekend's BTCC round at Croft in better shape after a trying Oulton weekend for the for the manufacturer leaders.
The Yuasa squad, as did many others, struggled last time out at Oulton Park with overtaking seeming to be at a premium on the International layout of the Cheshire based circuit.
Gordon Shedden, who acts as Colin Turkington's main challenger in the title race, enjoyed the stronger weekend of the Honda pairing with the Scot coming away with three top-five finishes including a second place in the final race of the day.
The Scot's team mate Matt Neal on the other hand evidently languished down the field and never really troubled the top ten before crashing out of the rain affected third race.
Shedden, content with his weekend's work at Oulton, says he goes to Croft with high expectations on a circuit which has traditionally treated himself and his Honda squad well.
“I think we came away from Oulton Park as best we could,” said Shedden. “It was a difficult weekend for quite a few people, and there wasn't a great deal in hindsight that we could have done much better. We made progress with the car again over the course of the weekend, and we are still in contention, consistently scoring good points.
“Croft is almost a local circuit for me and I always enjoy going there. I tend to receive plenty of support, and it's somewhere that the crowd can get really close to the action, which is great. It's been a reasonably happy hunting-ground in the past for me, too, and I think it's challenging mix of corners will suit the Civic Tourer pretty well.
“We go there with high expectations that we can be right in the thick of it again, and heading into the summer break afterwards, the objective has to be another very solid haul of points.”
Buoyed by the development of their new Civic Tourer, Neal maintains there's 'still life in the old dog yet' despite an indifferent Oulton round.
The former triple champion also says the weather may well play a part on an already challenging circuit.
“I love Croft,” says Neal. “It really requires some serious commitment, and the weather often tends to throw a curve ball, too. I'm definitely expecting a tough battle, but we are working hard with the Civic Tourer and increasingly getting on top of it – just look at the results 'Flash' has scored so far.
“Croft has been pretty good to me in recent years. I went well there in 2013 – even carrying a lot of weight – and this time I'm going in light, which should hopefully swing in my favour.
“If we can be up towards the front in qualifying, then we're in with a chance of a good race weekend. I'm really looking forward to it and I'm up for the challenge. There's plenty of fight left in this old dog yet!”
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