Renaissance man Jackson 'hunting' Neal after storming Silverstone

Mat Jackson has revealed that he now has Matt Neal's fourth place in the title standings firmly in his sights following a near-perfect weekend in the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship at Silverstone during which he twice triumphed and made it six podium finishes in succession.

The Racing Silverline star claimed pole position in Saturday's qualifying session – setting a new lap record along the way – and sped to a flawless victory in race one. Despite succumbing to the faster-starting rear-wheel drive Airwaves BMW of Rob Collard at the start, Jackson found a way by courtesy of a spectacular overtaking manoeuvre into Brooklands on his way to a second consecutive win.

From there, the Henley-in-Arden ace started the second race once more from pole, but with the heaviest car in the field as a result of carrying the maximum success ballast for his race one glory, he was passed by team-mate Jason Plato and – as rain started to fall during the second half of proceedings – title protagonist Fabrizio Giovanardi, leaving him to cross the line third for his second rostrum finish of the day.

Beginning race three from seventh with the BTCC's reverse grid format, Jackson was targeting another podium – but he went even better and took a thrilling win, setting fastest lap along the way. A superb start saw him in fourth by the end of the first lap – having passed former Formula 1 star Johnny Herbert at the first corner – and the 28-year-old soon picked off the competition in his Chevrolet Lacetti to put himself in second by lap four.

Once again behind race one rival Collard, the 2008 BTCC runner-up got past with another brilliant move at Brooklands, before going on to withstand intense pressure from his never-say-die rival all the way to the flag to make it three triumphs from his last four starts.

“What a day!” he enthused afterwards. “To get a win and a podium in the first two races was fantastic, but the final victory from seventh on the grid was awesome. That's two meetings in a row that I've finished on the podium in every race...not something that many drivers can boast.

“We had the pace to control race one, but it was a challenge. The move on Rob Collard's BMW was one of those 'I'm coming through and there's nothing you can do about it' moves. After my win last time out at Knockhill, it was great to maintain that performance. The Lacetti has not let us down; it hasn't missed a beat all day.

“Obviously the weight made things a bit more difficult in race two, and the long wheelbase of Giovanardi's Vauxhall really came into its own in those conditions so it wasn't possible to hold him off.”

Still, added to his one-two-three haul from Knockhill two weeks earlier, the results mean that in the last two meetings Jackson has vaulted up six spots in the championship chase to a challenging fifth, just 16 points shy of early-season title contender Neal in fourth, and clearly fired-up to make the position his own.

“Two races ago I was eleventh in the standings, now I'm fifth and hunting Matt Neal,” he concluded. “It's fantastic given the fact that I missed the first round and have had some awful bad luck and mechanical dramas this year – and there are still six races to go!”

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Mat Jackson (GBR) RML Chevrolet Lacetti
BMW returns to the BTCC with WSR
Jack Goff, Eurotech Racing, [Credit: BTCC media]
Matt Simpson, Team Dynamics, [Credit: BTCC Media]
Rob Austin, Handy Motorsport [Credit: Handy Motorsport]
Andrew Jordan, WSR Pirtek BMW [Credit:Jakob Ebrey]
Mat Jackson, Motorbase Performance, Shredded Wheat [Credit: Motorbase]
Gordon Shedden, Matt Neal, Halfords Yuasa Racing [Credit: Halfords Yuasa]
Mat Jackson, Motorbase Performance, Shredded Wheat [Credit: Motorbase]
Senna Proctor, Power Maxed Racing, BTCC [Credit: BTCC media]
WSR BMW  - Gardx / JCT 600 teams champions
WSR BMW  - Gardx / JCT 600 teams champions

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Matt Auger

September 02, 2009 1:57 PM

IF Mat manages to secure 4th overall, it'll be a mega achievement. Missed round 1, had to withdraw from Croft due to illness, double DNF at Oulton Park and Snetterton. This guy is a genius in a BTCC Car - 7 podiums out of the last 9 available, 5 independant wins out of the last 9, 6 podiums on the trot, 3 wins out of the last 4... Title winning form. Come on Mat :D

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