Airwaves BMW driver Steven Kane displayed some of the form which saw him dominate the podiums and top the Independent Drivers championship with 16 solid points at the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races at Knockhill today. Jackson...
Airwaves BMW driver Steven Kane displayed some of the form which saw him dominate the podiums and top the Independent Drivers championship with 16 solid points at the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races at Knockhill today. Jackson was not far behind on 12 points in a day that will be remembered for the determined drives of both Jackson and Kane, and the bad luck which hampered both of them.
The action started from the moment the flag was dropped in the first race as Kane, keen to capitalise on his highest qualifying position of the year, set out on maximum attack. Wedged between the LPG powered Fords, Kane was unwilling to take any unnecessary risks at this stage of the season. A distinctly professional approach on the twisting and undulating 1.3 mile circuit saw him defending his line and waiting rather than enforcing an opportunity to pass.
On lap four Chilton made a move for Plato through Clark's and was shut off, affording Kane just enough room to edge past the Ford driver into fourth, Plato firmly in his sights. A solitary lap later and Kane was on the tail of the pressurised Chevy, then mirror to mirror down the Hislop straight. At the Real Radio hairpin Kane took advantage of the traction available through his rear wheel drive BMW and nudged his way just in front of the current Drivers' Championship leader to steal third.
Jackson meanwhile had a different challenge; having started from 12th after a driveshaft failure in qualifying he had serious ground to make up, and, by lap 13, had moved up two places to tenth. Charging through the field Jackson went for the outside of the Weir chicane but the defending Onslow- Cole pushed him wide, allowing O'Neill to take the inside line. With the BMW, Ford and Honda Integra three abreast Jackson was squeezed out, a short and sharp bash from O'Neill meant impetus was then lost - allowing Jordan and Pinkney through. Much to his dismay he would finish the race in tenth place securing 1 point.
Kane on the other hand continued to plug away at Neal's Honda and was rewarded as Neal ran wide while the BMW and its tyres held a tight line through Scotsman's Corner. A seventh podium of the season and ten championship points would reward the move.
Race two, and the good weather continued as Kane held on to third as the Hondas took an early one-two lead following a poor start from MacDowall. Carrying 27kg, Kane would have to give his all to keep with the nippy Honda's.
With skill Kane closed the gap on Shedden in second, but Plato would soon appear in his rear view and he too had his own ideas of how this race would pan out. Kane who took a bold line through the hairpin got his nose in front of Chilton who had worked his way back alongside the front-runners. Chilton then went for the inside, but caught the rear end of Kane as he attempted to get back across the track. The knock sent Kane spinning, in the process collecting O'Neill.
Just like that Kane's third place had evaporated; he would finish in sixth with 6 points, just ahead of Jackson who ended the race with 5.
An unusually positive reverse grid for the Airwaves BMW team saw Jackson and Kane starting from second and third in the day's final race. As the team settled in and prepared to watch a spectacular race fate played a cruel hand.
At the end of the warm-up lap just seconds before the race was due to get underway Kane suffered a differential failure; from such a strong position his race was over before it began to the disillusionment of himself and the team.
Jackson however was still in the race, starting from second on the grid he went for the lead. On lap one, Jackson went to pass Onslow-Cole but with the narrowing track there was simply not enough room for the pair of them through Butchers. As the cars collided Jackson's was thrown up into the air. As it landed he did well to maintain control, but such was the force of the impact he was pushed wide onto the gravel and would rejoin the race in 7th place. For the remaining 26 laps (safety car added 4) Jackson was forced to play catch-up with a damaged car. Sticking right behind the front-runners and coercing them into mistakes he did well to maintain his position.
Eventually Jordan and his Vectra succumbed to the pressure, and on lap 24 ran wide enough for Jackson and O'Neill to pass. Then side-by-side the two drivers accelerated up the hill, with Jackson holding his nerve and stealing fourth thanks to late and brave braking.
The move forced him slightly wide and onto the dirt, which meant he didn't have the grip he needed through Clark's - he ended the race in fifth adding a further six points as the quickest BMW on circuit, but today could have been so much more fruitful.
Kane finished the day in second in the Independent Drivers championship with 193 points, 22 points behind leader Onslow-Cole. Jackson on 178 points lies in fourth.
Airwaves BMW Team driver Steven Kane said:
" It's a real shame things went as they did in that last race as a podium was there for the taking, I'm not sure if Chilton's knock earlier caused the diff failure, but either way the car was out of the running after that. 18 points from the weekend is respectable for me, but I would have liked to go into the last two races with a few more. The car is great and Donnington suits the BMW more so we shall see if we can kick up a gear and pull it back."
Airwaves BMW Team driver Mat Jackson said:
"I drove pretty well today but I made some mistakes and they cost me. I should have won the last race here and the car was capable. I went to pass Onslow-Cole on the first lap, in hindsight I should have waited so I'm gutted about that. On another day I could have ended up landing in the right direction but today I didn't, and it lost me a lot of places. I'm frustrated with myself but I scored some points which I will think about before Donnington."
Airwaves BMW Team Manager Oliver Collins said:
"A fantastic podium for Steven in race one started the day off really well, but of course we're disappointed after the potential of race three. Steven was so unlucky to suffer a differential issue on the outlap which forced him out, Mat went for an early overtake and unfortunately in didn't pay off today and he damaged his car, making his fifth place very respectable. Other than that a positive weekend with some good points but we didn't quite get the rub of the green. We're looking forward to a successful race at Donnington."
-source: airwaves bmw