Shedden relishing title decider
Gordon Shedden faces "crunch time" this weekend as he aims to win the British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch.
Shedden hopes to become the first Scot to claim the title in 17 years. he leads a three-horse race going into the final rounds of the season over the Grand Prix circuit on Sunday.
With three races remaining, the 33-year-old from Dalgety Bay in Fife holds a 15-point cushion over two-time champion Jason Plato, whilst defending champion Matt Neal is a further 16 points adrift.
In the penultimate round at Silverstone 12 days ago, Shedden could only manage two sevenths and a sixth, whereas Plato won two of the three events, and would have made it a hat-trick but for grinding to a halt when leading in race two with a few laps remaining.
Shedden, however, believes his Honda Civic will carry him over the finishing line with the title secure, ending Scotland's long-wait for a BTCC champion since John Cleland in 1995.
"The Brands GP circuit will really suit the Civic. We've always said the chassis is top notch," said Shedden.
"It's going to be a fantastic last event of the championship, all to play for, with the three of us in it. It's going to be tough, tense and exciting.
"We're all going there with a chance of winning, and we'll go there with our tails high.
"The Civic has been a consistently fantastic performer all year, it has three more races to do, and hopefully it will get me over the line first.
"It's crunch time now."
In a clear psychological battle, Plato is confident his MG6 has the edge.
He said: "I've a fantastic car underneath me, although we've still some reliability issues we need to cure.
"But we've produced a fantastic fight to the end of the championship, there are three guys that can win the thing at Brands Hatch, and that is what we all want.
"We want to race to win, and we're all set for a pretty exciting Brands Hatch if I'm honest.
"The Grand Prix circuit at Brands has always been very good to me, I've won a lot of races there.
"If I'm really honest, that's our circuit. We've got our car working so well at the moment, it's the best chassis on the grid."
Plato, who will carry 36kgs of success ballast into qualifying and the first race compared to 47kgs for Shedden and 27kgs for Neal in his Honda Civic, boasts a record at Brands Hatch.
The 45-year-old from Oxford has won on seven occasions on Brands' GP circuit, including all three races in 2009, compared to two wins for Neal, whilst Shedden has never taken the chequered flag on that track.