Mat Jackson has praised Ash Sutton for having a go art passing him in the final British Touring Car Championship race at Croft, even though the duo made contact in the run up to the chequered flag.
The Motorbase driver clung on for his first win of the season in race three in north Yorkshire, after having to drive a defensive last couple of laps due to the charging Subaru of Sutton having closed in.
Jackson admitted to TouringCars.Net after the race that he had expected Sutton to come, and he gave out praise to his rival for having a go at making the pass.
“I knew that if he got through [to second] he was coming,” said Jackson. “It was just a question of whether he could catch us.
“We were managing the gap – we didn’t want to get too far away in case there was a safety car and we’d used the tyres.
“The minute he came through we pulled the pin and tried to go as hard as we could, but it was only a matter of time that he was coming – that’s a fact.
“Rear-wheel drive is the answer around here, but to take it down to the last corner, I was going to let him take it away from me.””
Sutton tried to pass around the outside at the hairpin on the final lap, but the move didn’t work and contact with Jackson pushed the Subaru driver onto the grass on the infield.
“Fair play to him, because a lot of drivers would have punted me straight up the arse, and he didn’t. He’s done a proper job, and I’d have done exactly the same move as what he’s done.
“The move wasn’t going to happen, but you’ve got to do something. You wouldn’t be a racer if you were just going to sit there. He raced it fair, and he ran out of room on the exit.”
Earlier in the race, Jackson was also involved in an incident with then-race leader Ollie Jackson, with the Motorbase driver saying that the AmD racer simply turned in on him at the apex.
“We’d got the move done on Ollie, but he turned in,” added Jackson. “I can’t control what he does with his steering wheel; if you’re alongside, I haven’t got a magic wand to disappear.
“You can’t drive like that. At the end of the day, you’ve got to give room. If somebody is down the inside, you’re not going to drive through them.
“Everywhere he was just driving around the inside; you might do it for one lap but you’re not going to do it for the rest of the race.
“Sometimes you’re better off just letting somebody through and sitting on their bumper. We’ve all been there and we all learn.”
As a result of his win in race three, seventh in race two and third in race one, Jackson has now broken into the top ten in the drivers’ championship standings.