Silverstone: RML weekend summary

A SPECTACULAR WEEKEND AT KNOCKHILL SECURES TWO WINS & FIV PODIUMS FOR RACING SILVERLINE A stunning performance from both Jason Plato and Mat Jackson saw the Racing Silverline team leave Knockhill with a total of two race wins, five podiums...

A SPECTACULAR WEEKEND AT KNOCKHILL SECURES TWO WINS & FIV PODIUMS FOR RACING SILVERLINE

A stunning performance from both Jason Plato and Mat Jackson saw the Racing Silverline team leave Knockhill with a total of two race wins, five podiums from a possible six, two fastest laps, both drivers working their way up the drivers' championship standings and in his race three win, Mat gave RML their 100th win in its 25th year.

A fantastic start in the opening round of Knockhill's HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship saw Jason take a commanding and unchallenged lead from the lights to the chequered flag, marking the Chevrolet-Lacetti's first ever race win from race one in the championship. He also moved up to 3rd position in the drivers' championship standings and collected fastest lap honours en route.

In the sister Lacetti, Mat Jackson was up to fifth position from the start as Airwaves BMW driver Jonathan Adam made a slow getaway having nearly stalled. By lap seven Mat was closing in on Colin Turkington, a mistake from the Irishman on approach to Carlube promoted Rob Collard's Airwaves BMW to 3rd position five laps later. Mat took advantage of an incident on lap 14, involving Collard and Turkington to move up to 3rd position, which he kept until the chequered flag.

Speaking in parc ferme after his defiant race victory in which he claimed 18 vital championship points, Jason said, "To be fair, you can only have a race like that if you've got a great car. My car was magnificent."

Race 2 looked to be full of promise for Jason, with team mate Mat starting in 3rd and the nearest BMW being a distant 4th, but optimism soon turned to disappointment as an electrical fault caused Jason to dive into the pits following the formation lap.

As the lights went out, Mat made a solid getaway, maintaining second place from Shedden, having defended hard from Turkington's BMW. Piling the pressure on the race leader, the pair raced wheel-to-wheel into the Hairpin but Shedden just pipped Mat to the lead and held position.

A pass from VX Racing's Fabrizio Giovanardi into Carlube Corner saw Mat slip down to 3rd on lap 5, however, undeterred he stayed close, making his move on Shedden who ran wide into Hairpin having locked up under braking on lap 8, allowing Giovanardi to snatch the lead. Mat took the chequered flag in 2nd place, earning him another 12 championship points in addition to the 10 he collected from race one. He also set a fastest lap of the session and smashed his previous best placed finish of 4th position at Knockhill in both of the first races.

As the pack lined up on the grid for Race 3, fingers were crossed for a third podium for Mat and in the least, for some strong points for Jason, who would surely work his way through from the back of the field.

A good start from Mat put him in the perfect position to capitalise on a collision involving Paul O'Neill and Matt Neal, which forced the Tech-Speed driver to run wide and give Mat 4th position. A stint with the safety car followed, but by lap 7, it was back to racing and Mat was revelling in some wheel-to- wheel action with Neal into Hairpin, clearly the Lacetti's favourite section of the track.

Lap 10 proved exciting yet nail-biting for the Racing Silverline team, as Mat demonstrated his excellent focus and quick, but fair driving. Having passed Turkington into Hairpin at the end of the lap, Turkington managed to repass and reclaim 3rd position, but not content with 4th, Mat once again reclaimed 3rd position, outbraking him as they approached the start straight.

As the race reached midpoint, Mat was hunting Neal down and was only too happy to take the lead when contact between Thompson and race leader Neal forced them both to run adrift. Mat then took control of the race which resulted in a triumphant first win at the Knockhill circuit.

Commenting on his much deserved second win of the season, Mat enthused, "1st, 2nd, 3rd - it's great for Racing Silverline and in the third race, a 1-2 so a fantastic result for everyone in the team. Roll on Silverstone!"

In his number 3 Chevrolet-Lacetti, Jason too made a great start, already making up two places on the first lap. True to his word, he was ready to give it his all and one by one managed to pick his way through the field with some fearless driving. By lap 11, Jason was already into 9th position and having set the fastest time on lap 12, was taking no prisoners. With Harry Vaulkhard ticked off the list, Jason eyed Team Aon's Tom Chilton and was soon stealing 7th position at the SEAT curves.

More gripping wheel-to-wheel action followed, in the form of Jason passing Andrew Jordan on lap 17, Turkington on lap 18 and James Thompson, having run deep into Hairpin to pass the Dynamics driver for 4th place. The next challenge would come from VX Racing's Giovanardi and Neal. Jason had good drive onto the straight and on lap 21, some clean racing between the pair enabled Jason to move ahead of Giovanardi and over the next four laps, he closed in until he was right on Neal's tail.

Taking the inside line on exiting the Hairpin, Jason lunged ahead of Neal, although the latter was not yet ready to concede. Jason resisted Neal's fight back and again, retook 2nd place, which he held until the chequered flag, handing Racing Silverline their first ever 1-2 finish.

Jason summarised, "It's been a bit of a frustrating day for us with the second race but I had a fantastic car. We've come a long way since the start and with only one test mid season. I really understand the car now and what makes it tick. No exaggeration at all, this car now, I am at a stage with it where I am completely at one with it. It's a bit like putting on a glove. You can only drive a race like that with a brilliant car and arguably, this is the best racing car I have ever raced."

Jason now moves up to 3rd in the championship on 157 points and Mat is promoted to 7th with 91 points. The next HiQ MSA British Touring Car event takes place at Silverstone on 29th & 30th August

-credit: rml

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