TRIUMPH AT THRUXTON FOR REDSTONE RACING
Redstone Racing leads the Independent Teams’ and Drivers’ Championships after celebrating its second Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) win of the season in torrential rain at Hampshire’s Thruxton circuit.
The Kent team’s visit to the fastest track on the BTCC calendar began strongly with all three cars qualifying in the top ten. Mat Jackson posted the fourth quickest time, Aron Smith secured seventh and Liam Griffin clinched his best ever qualifying position in ninth.
In race one, Jackson made a blinding start in treacherous weather conditions to snatch the lead on the opening lap, building a comfortable advantage as the rest of the field struggled for visibility. Unfortunately his team-mate Griffin did not enjoy similar good fortunes, as he crashed heavily while running in twelfthplace. This brought out the safety car and eventually the race was red-flagged, awarding Jackson his second victory of the season. Redstone Racing’s third driver, Smith, enjoyed a strong run to seventh place.
Jackson visited the podium again in race two. After starting from pole position under safety car conditions due to the heavy rainfall, the 30-year-old led in the early stages before dropping behind the NGTC-specification machinery of Gordon Shedden and Jason Plato to finish third. Smith scored another top ten finish in eighth, while the team worked phenomenally hard to repair Griffin’s car in time to start the race – Liam repaying their efforts with a 17th place result.
The final outing at Thruxton yielded valuable points for Redstone Racing as Jackson took a comfortable sixth and Griffin made progress throughout the race to finish 12th. Smith started from the front of the grid but after a gamble on slick front tyres was thwarted by further rainfall, he was forced to make a pit stop and ultimately settled for 15th place.
Thruxton’s results mean Redstone Racing now tops the Independent Teams’ Trophy and lies second in the overall Teams’ Championship. Mat Jackson leads the Independents’ Trophy.
Redstone Racing driver Mat Jackson said: “After the ups and downs of Donington Park it was fantastic to win at Thruxton, especially as we didn’t think it was on the cards this weekend with the circuit being more likely to suit the NGTC cars. It’s a great way to go into the break before Oulton Park.”
Redstone Racing driver Aron Smith said: “I’ve never driven in such bad conditions, it was like trying to surf while blindfolded in race one! However, I was pleased to pick up some solid results. It was a shame about race three but the main thing was that we had three finishes in difficult weather.”
Redstone Racing driver Liam Griffin said: “It wasn’t the best of starts but it turned out alright in the end. I really must pay credit to the boys in the team who worked so hard to repair my car after race one, they did a fantastic job as always. I’m glad I could pay them back with a points finish in the final race.”
Redstone Racing team manager Oly Collins said: “Well that was somewhat better than I expected! The whole team has been outstanding this weekend, I think we made the best of some very difficult situations. Qualifying was a great result on Saturday and to add a win was fantastic: Mat drove perfectly.
“We wanted rain before the weekend and we got more than enough! Clearly the NGTC cars had an advantage this weekend so the results were very welcome. The guys repairing Liam’s car were unbelievable; I honestly didn’t expect it to go out for race two and it ran faultlessly.”
There will now be a six-week break for the British Touring Car Championship, which returns on 9/10th June at Oulton Park, Cheshire. The team behind Redstone Racing, Motorbase Performance, will be back in action on 17-19thMay, when it contests round two of the British GT Championship at Germany’s infamous Nürbürgring.