Gordon Shedden has secured his first win of the 2007 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season after storming to victory in the 13th round of the season at Oulton Park.
The Team Halfords driver was able to battle his way past the pole sitting BMW 320si of Colin Turkington early in the race and then pulled out a lead he wasn't to lose en route to his first victory since the team switched to the Honda Civic at the start of the season.
When the race got underway, with the anticipated rain having stayed away, Turkington made the best start to lead into Old Hall for the first time with Shedden settling into second and Fabrizio Giovanardi storming through to third – despite starting down in sixth place. Matt Neal had dropped one place to fourth, with Mat Jackson and Tom Chilton rounding out the top six – points leader Jason Plato having dropped to seventh ahead of Dave Pinkney.
As the field started the second lap, so Shedden made his move for the lead when, having already looked up the inside at Lodge, he dived down the inside Old Hall, with the car getting slightly sideways as he made his way past Turkington into the lead of the race. Having been pushed wide as a result, Turkington also lost second to Giovanardi on the run to Cascades.
However, Pinkey's hopes of a strong finish with the A-Tech Alfa Romeo would soon come to an end on the second lap when, having made his way up from 13th on the opening lap, he was involved in a collision with the SEAT of Darren Turner on lap two at the hairpin. It resulted in Turner retiring on the spot, while Pinkney crabbed back to the pits in the ailing Alfa to allow the team to start work on repairing the machine for the second race.
Further down the field, Tom Onslow-Cole was making progress from 18th on the grid following his accident in qualifying while Gareth Howell was also making moves up the order having started from the pitlane following a driveshaft issue as he made his way round to the grid – with Onslow-Cole on the verge of the points by the end of lap four and Howell not much further back.
With Turkington struggling to get heat into his tyres, the Northern Irish driver was under pressure from Neal, with the Honda making contact with the rear of the BMW at the hairpin on lap four before Turkington started to increase his pace. By lap six, the BMW was the quickest car on the circuit and the gap to second placed Giovanardi started to drop, with Neal being pulled along by Turkington as the duo closed in on the wanna-be title leader.
However, despite the best efforts of Turkington, Giovanardi wasn't to be denied second place and successfully held the place to the finish behind Shedden, with Turkington taking third from Neal. Mat Jackson held onto fifth ahead of Tom Chilton – the VX Racing man surviving a late scare when he was held up by the ailing BMW of Jim Pocklington while lapping the backmarker and Jason Plato was able to close onto his tail. Plato had to settle for seventh from Mike Jordan – while Onslow-Cole and Howell completed the points scorers despite their earlier problems.
Outside the points, Jason Hughes was eleventh ahead of a race long battle between Simon Blanckley and Martyn Bell – the Sibsport man gaining the upper hand in the closing stages as Bell picked up a gearbox problem, while Erkut, John George, Fiona Leggate, Rick Kerry and Pocklington completed the finishers.
Aside from Pinkney and Turner, Adam Jones was forced out after a trip across the grass at Knickerbrook while Matt Allison went off heavily at Druids shortly afterwards – possibly as a result of fluid leaking from the Aircool SEAT. Chris Stockton stopped on track while Richard Marsh failed to make the start after being pushed off the grid.
With rain now falling, the proverbial cat could be amongst the pigeons for the second race...