The return to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship looked a decidedly grim affair as the session kicked off. After the seven-week summer break the eyes of the motoring world were firmly fixed on Snetterton, and the ominous dark grey ...
The return to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship looked a decidedly grim affair as the session kicked off. After the seven-week summer break the eyes of the motoring world were firmly fixed on Snetterton, and the ominous dark grey clouds overhead.
In both earlier Free practice sessions both Airwaves BMW drivers performed admirably, with Kane securing fourth and Jackson fifth in FP1 and later seventh and ninth in FP2.
With great pace hopes were pinned on top ten qualifying positions for both drivers when, just as the cars emerged from the pits and onto the track, it began to rain. In desperate scenes the team had to make a judgment call, guessing the rain would get worse, much worse. They were spot on.
Working furiously they opted for wets all round for both cars, in stark contrast to many of their fellow competitors. In less than two minutes both Airwaves BMWs were out on track and wearing what would turn out to be exactly the right footwear.
From the off Kane got stuck in, putting together a few timely laps but struggled to get the best from the car and circuit. With a time of 1.20.827 he was as high as third, but with a success ballast of 9kg and a car set-up for dry conditions he was unable to better this. Kane ended up in eleventh, just behind Boardman and tellingly in front of Collard's WSR BMW who finished the session in twelfth.
Jackson, who had a less than enjoyable weekend at Croft certainly made amends. The wet weather master excelled, demonstrating to the Norfolk crowds how fast a rear-wheel drive car can be driven on soaking tarmac; if you know what you're doing that is!
Around halfway through the session Jackson put in a time of 1.20.094, (P2 at the time by 0.04 secs) which was never bettered and resulted in a fourth place qualifying position for tomorrow's first race. He was also over a second faster than Collard's BMW.
Chilton (1.19.675 -3rd), Plato (1.19.426-2nd) and MacDowall (1.19.332 - 1st) took the top three spots, but with a forth place qualifying finish and Kane only half a second behind Airwaves BMW's qualifying issues may well have been resolved.
The two fastest BMW's today belonged to Airwaves BMW, the current Independent Teams championship leaders and second place in the Teams standings. With Kane in fifth and Jackson in sixth in the Drivers Championship there is plenty of time left for the team and drivers to return and remain at the top. Tomorrow will most certainly be one to watch.
ITV4's live coverage from Snetterton is scheduled between 11.00am-6.00pm on Sunday 8th August. Driver and team details, as well as the season schedule, can be found on www.btcc.net
Airwaves BMW Team driver Steven Kane said:
"I'm obviously very disappointed as I didn't get to show my true pace when the circuit was at its best. Not being on the track at the right time, in the right conditions with the new tyres on made us miss the window we needed to put a solid lap together. We're still in there fighting and it's a reasonable grid position compared to the last two rounds, so we can take some positives out of qualifying which we can take to the race and get stuck in tomorrow morning."
Airwaves BMW Team driver Mat Jackson said:
"It was a very positive day for me and the team and the car was very quick out there. It was a very tough session, the car was set-up for a dry track so I had to fight to keep it in line, but give me the wet any day! It's so much more challenging to drive in these conditions and rain is always a good leveller. We're in good shape for tomorrow and my eye is on a podium. "
Airwaves BMW Team Manager Oliver Collins said:
"I'm relatively satisfied with today's result, certainly for Mat. It was very unfortunate that Steven got caught out by the sudden change in conditions; he couldn't get the best out of the car or the circuit when it was fastest. Mat is in a strong position for tomorrow whether it's wet or dry. Steven has a little more work to do but we're confident they both have a good race pace."
-source: airwaves bmw