Top ten BTCC drivers: Mat Jackson.

After asking you to vote for your leading drivers from the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship season, the time has come to start the count-down to the driver you voted the top star of 2008.

Over the next ten days, we will be revealing the top ten in reverse order, with the winner being revealed on Friday 14 November.

More than 7,000 votes were cast on the BTCC poll, with each drivers average score out of ten then being calculated to decide the winner.

BTCC Driver of the Year – second place:

Name: Mat Jackson
Team: BMW Dealer Team UK
Car: BMW 320si (S2000)
Wins: 5
Podiums: 5
Fastest laps: 4
Championship points: 226
Championship position: 2nd

After a fine debut season in 2007, Mat Jackson – now running under the banner of BMW Dealer Team UK – raised his game in 2008 and emerged as one of the stars of the 50th anniversary BTCC season.

A double podium in the opening rounds of the year at Brands Hatch marked Jackson out as a title contender and his first win of the year followed in round two of the year at Rockingham – although his victory was followed by a run of three no-scores.

However, a return to the podium at Thruxton was then followed by arguably the drive of the season in the second race at Croft where he came through the field from 18th on the grid to finish just a tenth of a second behind winner Colin Turkington.

A win at Snetterton was a good start to the second half of the year and by the time the BTCC arrived at Silverstone for the penultimate round of the campaign, Jackson was focused on breaking into the top three in the standings.

Despite qualifying down in 14th place, he stormed through to finish second in the opening race and then won race three. A double win on Finals Day back at Brands then saw him not only move into the top three, but also steal second in the standings from Jason Plato by just three points. His results also allowed BMW Dealer Team UK to end the year as the highest placed single-car entrant in the teams' championship standings while Jackson finished second to Turkington in the Indy standings.

“We arrived back at Brands and knew we could get third from Colin, although we didn't really think we could get second,” he said. “Although we knew it was mathematically possible, to achieve it would be another matter and we knew it would need back luck from Jason. To come away from Brands Hatch having actually taken second place is a fantastic achievement for everyone at the team.

“We knew going into race three that there was five points to Jason and that while he was going to come through from the back and try to score points, we needed to get fifth and hope he couldn't make it into the top ten. As it was, we finished fourth and he was outside the points so it was mission accomplished and job done.

“It's obviously the time of year now when you hear a lot of interesting rumours flying around, but we're hopefully going to come back again next year and we can only go one better. We've just got to focus at this point in the year to improve everything and come back even stronger, hit the ground running and come out fighting for the main championship in 2009. This is where the hard work starts…”

BTCC Driver of the year – Top ten:

3. Jason Plato SEAT Sport UK
4. Colin Turkington Team RAC
5. Andrew Jordan John Guest Racing
6. Tom Onslow-Cole VX Racing
7. Steven Kane Motorbase Performance
8. Adam Jones Team Aircool
9. Gordon Shedden Team Halfords
10. Mike Jordan John Guest Racing

Tomorrow: We reveal your winner of the Driver of the Year poll.

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Mat Jackson
Ashley Sutton - Subaru Team BMR [pic credit BTCC]
Matt Simpson, Team Dynamics, [Credit: BTCC Media]
Andrew Jordan, WSR Pirtek BMW [Credit:Jakob Ebrey]
Mat Jackson, Motorbase Performance, Shredded Wheat [Credit: Motorbase]
Mat Jackson, Motorbase Performance, Shredded Wheat [Credit: Motorbase]
WSR BMW  - Gardx / JCT 600 teams champions
WSR BMW  - Gardx / JCT 600 teams champions
Mat Jackson (GBR) Motorbase
Mat Jackson (GBR) Motorbase
Mat Jackson (GBR) Motorbase

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