Mat Jackson has secured his first win of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship season after storming to victory in the second race of the weekend at Rockingham.
The BMW Dealer Team UK made his way through from sixth on the grid to secure a win that allows him to keep the pressure firmly on defending champion Fabrizio Giovanardi in the championship standings.
When the race kicked off, Jackson made a stunning start to jump up to fourth place straightaway but Darren Turner also got away well in his diesel SEAT Leon to take the lead as the field dropped off the banking onto the infield at Deene for the first time, with Giovanardi jumping into second and pole man Gordon Shedden dropping to third. Another quick starter Stephen Jelley had come through to fifth, with Adam Jones sixth when the race was put under caution after Stuart Oliver spun his BTC Racing Lexus into the gravel at Gracelands.
Behind the Safety Car, Jason Plato pitted from tenth to allow SEAT to check for damage to his car after contact on the opening lap. He rejoined at the back of the field before racing resumed on lap five.
With the field having been backed up by Turner, a number of drivers saw their chance to make a move and Tom Onslow-Cole took sixth from Jones at Deene off the restart and Jackson then took third from Shedden at Tarzan later in the lap. Onslow-Cole also made his way past Jelley before the lap was out.
Jones was unfortunately a driver going the wrong way down the field and on lap seven he lost out to both Matt Neal and Tom Chilton for position while further down the pack, Plato was trying to make his way through towards the points – no doubt well aware of the fact that he could secure pole position for the final race if the reverse grid worked in his favour.
On lap ten, it all changed out front as Giovanardi, putting Turner under increasing pressure, just nudged the SEAT enough through Gracelands to make his way through, with Jackson also getting past into second. Jackson didn't take long to make his move for the lead of the race a lap later as Giovanardi got two wheels on the grass at Yentwood and the BMW man slipped through into the lead of the race.
Jackson then started to pull away out front as Giovanardi seemed unable to respond to the pace of the BMW man but there were still plenty of changes going on down the field. Amongst those on the move was Colin Turkington who had climbed into the top ten after his disappointing result in race one. On lap 13 he took ninth from Adam Jones while his Team RAC team-mate Jelley survived a trip over the gravel at the final chicane as he maintained his sixth place – easily his best BTCC run to date.
However, a lap later it all changed for Jelley when he was hit entering the chicane by Matt Neal. The contact delayed both cars with Jelley slipping to ninth and Neal outside the top ten. It also promoted Turkington to sixth ahead of Chilton and Jones.