Honda's Gordon Shedden faces an uphill task of retaining his slender British Touring Car Championship lead after qualifying down in 16th position for today's first race at Snetterton.

The Team Dynamics driver's Honda Civic Type-R fell victim of a costly power steering failure, which left Shedden way off the pace in qualifying - on what is the longest lap of the BTCC season.

To make matters worse for Shedden, his chief title rival Jason Plato qualified high up the order in third position.

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Team BMR's Plato is only 10-points shy of the championship summit while Shedden's Team Dynamics team mate Matt Neal - who is only 23-points behind himself - qualified in fifth.

"Yeah the car was good but we had a power steering failure," said Shedden.

"It's too long a track and even Popeye isn't getting it around here without power steering but I gave it a good go. It's not good enough unfortunately.

"It kind of started a little in FP2. We thought we found a potential anomaly but it wasn't. It wasn't far off from undriveable in qualifying.

"There's not a magic fix in the session so unfortunately we could only try and make the best of it. Some circuits you might have been able to make it work but not around here."

Despite starting at a disadvantage, Shedden believes he can claw himself back into the hunt if he makes the progress which is asked of him during the first race.

"I'll be trying to conjure a fast lap for race two. For race two and three, if we can get up there, we can be in the hunt. We've got to get it back on a level playing field," the Team Dynamics driver continued.

"It's just frustrating that these niggles have reared their head and given us a tough qualifying session."