Shedden aims to trim Plato's lead

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The Independent Online

Gordon Shedden is expecting big things from his turbo-enhanced Honda as he seeks to cut Jason Plato's British Touring Car Championship lead at Donington this weekend.

Plato leads by eight points from nearest-rival Mat Jackson after two wins in three races at the season-opening Brands Hatch event.

The Civic of Shedden, five points further back in fourth, is one of the turbo-charged cars which Plato has openly conceded may hold an advantage at Donington.

The Oxford veteran admitted: "It's wider and there are longer straights and several uphill sections where the turbos will really stretch their legs."

Scotsman Shedden said: "The Honda Civic has got huge potential. We have the positives of the turbo-charged engine and we will learn more about the handling. The car has performed better than we could have hoped for and we will go to Donington Park with a lot of confidence.

"I had a double win there back in 2006 with the Honda Integra and I won there again in 2007 and 2010, so the circuit is one of my happier hunting grounds.

"Knowing what we know about the car at the moment, I'd say that the track will play to our strengths, so we can't wait to get going and achieve more wins.

"The target is to do what Plato did to us at Brands Hatch, by getting as many race wins as possible to close the gap to him in the championship standings."

Chevrolet ace Plato won nine races last season to clinch the title with ease and Shedden warned: "We can't have him running away with the championship and sealing the title early doors."

Current leader Carlos Checa was way off the pace in the first qualifying practice for the third World Superbike Championship meeting of the season in Assen. Spaniard Checa, on his Ducati, went round in 1min, 37.114secs, well down on the day's quickest rider, Ducati team-mate Jakub Smrz (1min, 36.058secs).

Trailing Smrz were the Italians Max Biaggi (Aprilia), Marco Melandri (Yamaha) and Michel Fabrizio (Suzuki), while British duo Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) and Leon Haslam (BMW) were in fifth and seventh respectively.