GORDON SHEDDEN endured mixed fortunes during an incident-packed fourth round of the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) on Sunday.

The Knockhill based race ace headed to Oulton Park in Cheshire aiming to bounce back from the disappointment of a double non-finish during the previous race weekend at Thruxton and reignite his title challenge.

Reigning champ ‘Flash’ went into battle at the venue where he secured his maiden BTCC victory a decade ago just 15 points adrift of the competition’s joint leaders; Halfords Yuasa Racing team-mate Matt Neal and Team JCT600 Racing’s Rob Collard.

In the build-up to Oulton Park Shedden – business development manager at Knockhill – said that he felt his team were still trying to “maximise the potential” of their Honda Civic Type R and was encouraged by their early season showing having not “completely aced it yet”.

Starting race one from fifth on the grid, the 36-year-old stormed his way into third place – passing the rookie pole-sitter David Lloyd on lap two – before his podium slot soon came under threat from the experienced Jason Plato.

Two of the BTCC’s most experienced drivers battled it out over several laps, with Shedden defending valiantly on a number of occasions, before Plato finally nudged ahead at the end of lap 12 to push ‘Flash’ into fourth spot.

Shedden repeated that result in the day’s second race and, in the final race, he looked on course to secure a one-two for his team as he muscled his way past Josh Cook on the opening lap to sit second behind Neal.

But a puncture on the penultimate lap forced him out of contention as he finished 23rd, resulting in a 26-point haul that leaves him joint third in the standings.

Shedden trails leader Sam Tordoff by 27 points and he said: “Sometimes it goes with you and sometimes it doesn’t. At the minute we just can’t buy any luck but it will change. It was disappointing as it’s a load of points thrown away but everyone’s got a tale of woe.

“I don’t know what caused the puncture. Whether we’ve hit some debris, I don’t know. The car was good, especially with the weight.”

The next round takes place at Croft on June 18-19 and he added: “Croft will be difficult. It’s BMW territory. They won all three races last year so we need to find some more performance somehow. We’ll take advantage when we can but you’ve still got to look towards the end of the season. There will be tracks that will suit us better.”