Mat Jackson produced one of the best drives in the recent history of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship to secure a stunning podium finish during the fifth round of the year at Croft.

Jackson qualified in seventh place in the North East at the wheel of his BMW 320si but a trademark strong start in wet conditions meant he was leading the race by the time it was stopped on the third lap following an accident for Stephen Jelley and Alan Taylor.

On the restart, Jackson started from second place but quickly jumped into the lead ahead of Gordon Shedden. However, visibly struggling to keep the BMW in a straight line, Jackson went off at Tower and dropped down to 18th place where he would finish the race.

However, in the second race, Jackson was a man possessed as he stormed through the field with a series of fine overtaking moves to second place behind Colin Turkington entering the final lap. Despite seeing the Team RAC man make a mistake at the Complex on the final lap, Jackson was forced to settle for second place having come from near the back of the field to within a tenth of a second of victory.

After being pushed off at Clervaux on the opening lap of race three, Jackson battled back to fifth place but then found himself stuck behind the Honda of Tom Chilton and was forced to settle for the position all the way to the flag.

"In race one, everyone has their own views," he said. "The first part before the red flag was okay but on the restart, there was so much standing water that the car just aquaplaned off. Being the first car, it's not the best place to be. It was aquaplaning in a straight line and there was no grip at all. For sure it is annoying as we had the pace and would have driven away in race one but we didn't.

"Race two was a good result and a great boost to the team. We nailed the set-up right and it was great. I love the rain but we have struggled with things on the car so far. There is a lot of hard work and graft that went into the getting the car right and then it was a case of searching round for the different levels of grip. There is a lot of grip out there on a different line to the one the others were using and I just had to find it.

"We got a great start in race three but got a punt from Mike Jordan which dropped us back. We were quicker than Tom in certain places but we were quicker in others. The Honda is maybe the only car that can match the SEAT diesel and we had to settle for position."

Jackson now lies third in the overall standings and third in the Independents' at the half-way point of the season, but he admitted that scoring well on a regular basis will be vital to him challenging for the title when racing resumes after the summer break.

"It's had a lot of ups and downs and at times it has been quite frustrating this season," he said. "I was quicker than Colin at Rockingham and ended up in the gravel, I was running well at Donington and ended up in the gravel - that is a massive points loss, and the same goes for the first race at Croft.

"There is a lot to do to get ready for the return to racing. We have a two-day championship test at Snetterton and don't have long to turn it round. Everyone will be there for that test and we have some plans, so hopefully we can learn more about the car.

"We are third in the standings now but could easily drop to seventh as it is very tight. At the turning point, we have to pick up more points in the championship. We can't have another DNF and can't end up in the gravel trap. Hopefully we can have a bit more luck as well."