THE race for the title is hotting up and Gordon Shedden admits he needs some big points if he’s to be British Touring Car champion once more.

And the 38-year-old says that the support of Halfords Yuasa Racing team-mate Matt Neal could prove crucial if he is to accelerate beyond his rivals over the last three race weekends and take top spot for a third successive year.

It was all-change at the top of the BTCC standings after rounds 19, 20 and 21 at Knockhill earlier this month as Shedden – the previous championship leader – had to settle for damage limitation while Team BMW’s Colin Turkington surged to the top of the standings.

Turkington tops the drivers’ table on 265 points, with Knockhill business development manager Shedden 12 back in third.

With just races at Rockingham this weekend, followed by stops at Silverstone and Brands Hatch GP left in this year’s championship, he knows some big performances are needed if he is to win a fourth title of his career.

He heads for Rockingham the lightest he has been in four months, with 57kg of success ballast aboard his Honda Civic Type R.

Shedden is also likely to be able to count on the assistance of team-mate Matt Neal who, while in sixth place, is 93 points off the championship lead.

Shedden said: “Having Matt’s support will unquestionably help; playing the team game has always been one of our strengths as a pairing, so I’m sure we’ll be a formidable force working together.

“It’s the BTCC so anything can still happen but the title battle is likely now boiling down to four drivers (Turkington, Ashley Sutton, Shedden and Rob Collard) and we need to start scoring some big points again after a difficult few weekends.

“Rockingham is a unique circuit that has a bit of everything and it’s the only anti-clockwise track on the BTCC calendar, which makes it a different challenge to usual.

“It has a habit of generating close and exciting racing and I’ve certainly had some memorable moments there over the years. I remember catching a massive slide through turn one back in 2012, and saving it turned out to be pivotal to winning the championship.”