Honda's Gordon Shedden has achieved the first part of his quest to retain his British Touring Car Championship title by out-qualifying points leader Sam Tordoff ahead of tomorrow's opening Brands Hatch race.

The reigning BTCC champion will line up in seventh, three places ahead of West Surrey Racing's Tordoff following a sensational final qualifying session of 2016.

Though admitting he would be further up the grid, the Team Dynamics driver was content with own his own effort, which saw the Honda Civic Type-R lap within 0.5s of pole sitter Colin Turkington's time.

"I would have preferred to be in P5, which is where I was when the rain came down but there was so many things happening. You've only got to look where Jackson finished to see it was a bit of a lottery in those last few laps," Shedden told

"I did a decent lap, probably not the best lap in the world but it's OK. Four-tenths off pole with 66 kilos of ballast isn't the end of the world."

As Shedden points out, Tordoff will have fellow title contender Matt Neal snapping at his heels in tomorrow's first race but feels it won't be until the second encounter where the title battle will really heat up.

"We're in front of Tordoff, that's the main thing. I'd rather to have a bigger between us but he's going to have Matt [Neal] chasing him like there's no tomorrow. It's going to be interesting," Shedden continued.

"We've got this scenario where a lot of the cars in front of us where they're running a lot less ballast than us. So they're going to be racing and got their own thing to do but come race two there'll be a bit of a switch around where we can maybe go racing a bit more.

"We've just got to try and score and make the best of it really."

Confident his Honda Civic Type-R will be strong whatever the conditions throw up tomorrow, Shedden vies to become the first back-to-back champion since Fabrizio Giovanardi achieved back in 2007-08.

"Every lap will be important tomorrow. As we've already seen there's going to be a lot going on," said Shedden.

"I think it's going to be dry tomorrow but the car feels good and the balance is nice and driveable so we'll give it a go.

"I know it can go up and down like there's no tomorrow. We've got to keep our head down, score points and if it's enough, it's enough. It won't be through lack of trying. We won't leave anything on the table and we'll see where we go."