JACKSON STORMS TO THRUXTON RACE WIN
On his debut weekend with the RML Chevrolet-Lacetti, Mat Jackson forged his mark on the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship by taking a dominant race-three win at Thruxton on Sunday.
Thanks to PCC UK Ltd., Mat struck a late deal to partner Jason in the second Lacetti. Mat had little time to familiarise himself with the car and both drivers found free practice offered little in the way of testing opportunity, but if enthusiasm alone could win a race, the odds were looking good for Mat.
The first race proved to be an eventful one for all, however despite both Lacetti's dropping back on the first lap, Mat and Jason maintained a strong performance and showcased the Lacetti's competitive pace until Jason pitted on lap 7 for a new front tyre. As the chequered flag fell, Mat had fought his way back up to a respectable 8th place finish in his first outing, with Jason claiming 10th place in his Racing Silverline-entered Lacetti.
With qualifying positions dictated by race one results, the Lacetti's started 8th and 10th respectively. Solid starts by both drivers enabled them to post some quick lap times, Mat continually acclimatising to the new front-wheel drive cars and new team.
As the safety car exited on lap 6 following Eaves' incident, Jason regained a strong charge, passing Jones and squabbling with a defensive O'Neill in 6th. True to Jason's form, enthralling door-to-door racing would entail, with Jason diving past O'Neill into Allards. A mistake from O'Neill into Campbell corner allowed Jason and Mat to seize the opportunity to go through until Mat himself ran wide, collecting a marker board which lodged into the front air intake. With temperatures raised, the pace of the Lacetti dropped off until the debris dislodged itself and again, the true pace of Lacetti came through as Mat moved up the pack. To the delight of the fans, a last lap battle between the two returnees, Jason and Thompson, followed. Jason would eventually finish 6th and Mat 9th.
With the grid being reversed for race three, Mat would start 2nd and Jason 4th. As the lights went out, an awesome start by Mat saw him charge into the lead and build a comfortable gap ahead of the pack.
Jason too had a strong race in his Racing Silverline Lacetti, dicing with the field and working his way through from 7th to 4th by the final lap. Again the race was not without incident as the safety car became a consistent feature of the weekend, but both Lacetti's stayed out of trouble and enjoyed some good, clean tussles. Mat led a convincing race from start to finish and had pulled out a gap of over 2.5 seconds by lap 18. As the chequered flag fell, Mat claimed a brilliant first race win with his RML Lacetti - a fantastic return to the BTCC.
Speaking after the third race, Mat summarised, "It was a late deal that we put together, and I haven't much experience with a front-wheel drive car, so I was under no illusions that it wouldn't be a tough weekend. The aim is always to get the best out of the car.
It's definitely a fast car. I made a good start in race three and pulled away, but had to look after the tyres. Then after the safety car returned to the pits, I achieved a good restart, creating a 1.5s gap.
It was a mega result. We came here with the ambition of a race win, which we achieved. It's good to be back!"