It was a weekend of mixed fortunes for Halfords Racing with Cataclean and Team Dynamics at Thruxton.
Despite excelling in free practice 2 on Saturday, the weather had a big impact on both drivers in qualifying. Changing conditions meant a late change to slick tyres, but the session came to a close before either Gordon or Dan could post a satisfying time. This sent them into round 1 of racing in 8th and 16th respectively on the grid.
Round 1 was over in a flash for Gordon, who got side-swiped while trying to avoid a slowing car in front and ended up in the barrier along with Smiley. Dan had a better experience, using some impressive overtaking manoeuvres to work his way up to a 7th place finish and grab his first points of the 2021 season.
After a lengthy red flag period following a chaotic few opening laps, round 2 looked like it was going to be a more fruitful session for both drivers. Gordon and Dan were making steady progress through the field, with Dan eventually overhauling Plato to take a brilliant 4th place – only four seconds behind the top three. However, Gordon’s run of bad luck continued when contact damage caused him to drop back through the field to an 18th place finish.
The round 3 reverse grid draw saw Dan drawn in 8th position and Gordon starting down in 18th. The weather once again played its part, with heavy rain leading both drivers to change to wets rather than slicks. For Gordon, the decision paid off in spectacular fashion as he charged through the field to finish an amazing 4th. For Dan, the combination of ballast weight, tyre degradation and easing rain led him back to the pits to switch to slicks… only for the rain to return once again. He was forced to pit for a second time to change back to wets and ended up finishing in 21st place.
Reactions from the drivers
Dan Rowbottom: “That was a fantastic weekend for me, my highest finish ever in the BTCC. I felt I drove well and took the opportunities as they presented themselves. To come away from the weekend in 8th place and with 22 points, I am delighted. Bring on Snetterton!”
Gordon Shedden: “Well that was a bit of a weekend to forget for me – two no points finishes wasn’t what I was expecting! But hats off to the team for getting me back out for race 2; they had a massive amount of work to do from the race 1 incident. It is great to finish on a high though as we have looked strong all weekend and fair play to Dan for getting two top 10 results. I’m happy with the way I’m driving, and the car felt hooked up, so you can guarantee we’ll be pushing hard again at the next round in June!”