Redstone racing championship challenge back on track

Redstone Racing leaves Snetterton in a buoyant mood at the end of a successful weekend of racing at Round 6 of Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship’s (BTCC) visit to Snetterton circuit on 11th/12th August 2012.

Mat Jackson, Redstone Racing
Mat Jackson, Redstone Racing

Photo by: Pat Cranham

Having run the all new Mountune-powered NGTC Ford Focus for the first time during Saturday’s qualifying session, Sunday’s race day results far exceeded any hopes the team had for its debut. The new machine - piloted by Mat Jackson – turned out to be the surprise star of the weekend, managing to secure three top eight finishes.

Running only two Focuses for the weekend, whilst Liam Griffin takes a short sabbatical, team-mate Aron Smith also rose to the occasion putting in a sterling performance that saw him net two top ten finishes and his highest finishing position to date of 7th.

The first race of the day looked encouraging for the new NGTC machine as Jackson expertly worked his way through the field from P16 to P11 in the first 12 laps. The Redstone Racing driver steadily closed the 3 second gap from Lea Wood’s Vectra to move past on the final lap taking 9th position – just as Rob Collard retired from the race, automatically promoting Jackson into P8 for the second race of the day. Team-mate Aron Smith had a frustrating first race having opted for a cautious set-up to preserve the S2000 Ford’s tyres, and a run in with Neate and Shedden saw him drop to P16.

Liam Griffin, Redstone Racing
Liam Griffin, Redstone Racing

Photo by: Pat Cranham

A more aggressive set up and braver start paid dividends for Smith in race 2 as he cleanly worked his way through the pack to move up into P10 in the opening lap. Jackson also fared well gaining an extra spot to move into 7th place. A mid-race battle with Dave Newsham saw Smith’s Focus trade places with the Vectra numerous times – showing that the Irish Motorsport Driver of the Year – is already capable of holding his own in the BTCC field, finishing in a credible 10th place. Jackson had a relatively quiet race, where despite an intermittent gear issue, the 31 year old managed to close down on Tom Onslow-Cole in the closing seconds of the race to steal 6th place on the final corner.

The final race of the day finished on a high for the Redstone Racing team. Well renowned for his blistering starts, Jackson took the new NGTC up into 3rd place in the opening laps, and for a good while a trip to the podium looked to be on the cards. However, following a couple of hairy sideways slides that the Redstone driver did well to recover from, he lost out but managed an extremely credible 5th place finish; which was later promoted to 4th following the exclusion of Shedden. Smith once again showcased his skills, working his way up through the traffic in the opening laps to secure his highest finishing position of 6thplace to date in the BTCC.

Both Jackson and Smith were delighted with their top seven finishes and to have secured a solid haul of much welcomed points to help keep Motorbase in the battle for the Independents’ title.

Redstone Racing now head back to the workshop to prepare the cars for further development work ahead of Round 7 of the MSA Dunlop British Touring Car Championship at Knockhill on 25th/26th August.

Redstone Racing Team Principal David Bartrum said:

“This weekend was a special weekend. It announced Motorbase as a constructor. We served up a car at 6am Saturday morning that had only been finished three hours before and we came here and went out at free practise 1 and turned a wheel for the first time ever, it progressed in free practise 2, again in qualifying and then to go out and move forward in every race is just unbelievable. We never moved backwards all weekend. If you would have told me on Friday night that we’d get three top eight finishes this weekend I’d have said I’ll be a very lucky man if we do!

“Aaron’s done a fantastic job today, he had a tough first race, but he came back and put in a great performance to finish up just behind Mat. This weekend’s been a great result for the team, we’ve had good performances all round, it was nice to see Liam here supporting his team-mates and we’re back on track now in the standings.”

“It’s a testament to everybody at Motorbase; all the guys that have worked so hard behind the scenes, and all the guys that work so hard on the race days and I’m a very proud man of my little team.”

Redstone Racing Driver Mat Jackson said:

“Going into the first race at P16 we always knew it was going to be a dog-fight and having the new car and no spare parts we obviously have to be mindful of that so to come away with three top eight finishes and a sniff at the podium is pretty remarkable.

“You have to pinch yourself and remind yourself that the car has only just started 18 hours was the first time the engine ran and it’s a testament to the Redstone Racing guys that the car has run faultlessly all weekend. We came here viewing today as a test day and there we were on the second row in only our second race– it’s been a dream start so far and hopefully we can keep the momentum going.”

Redstone Racing Driver Aron Smith said:

“Race 1 was a little bit frustrating. We set the car up to preserve the tyres and it hindered us a bit as we were running well. We revamped the car for the second race 2 which meant we were much better able to attack and just being a little braver at the start of the race helped big style. I had a great battle with Newsham, I’m not sure how many times we traded places but it was certainly entertaining – both wing mirrors were missing off my car! I really enjoyed the last race, getting up to have a chance to mix it with Plato and Jordan was great, I was hoping for a top ten finish so to get into the top seven is amazing.

“The car had good pace again this weekend and I think the S2000 will be well suited to Knockhill – I can’t wait to get back out there again!”

Source: Motorbase Performance

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Series BTCC
Article type Race reports
Tags btcc, focus, jackson, redstone, smith, snetterton