Mat Jackson was delighted to have claimed his second British Touring Car Championship win of the season, as the 33-year-old took victory in the day’s reverse-grid race at Silverstone.
The Airwaves Racing driver came into the weekend mired in a battle for fourth place in the drivers’ championship with Rob Collard and Andrew Jordan, and had high hopes of repeating a famous first NGTC victory for his team from 2012.
Having qualified in fourth for Sunday’s first race, Jackson made a great start to leapfrog Sam Tordoff and retained his third place until the chequered flag, before finishing fourth in race two.
But after Tordoff’s car expired on the grid prior to the race three start, Jackson was able to move from fourth into second off the line as the cars filed through Copse. Having closed on Fabrizio Giovanardi, Jackson then overtook his teammate before the deployment of the safety car, but proceeded to allow the Italian back past as they crossed the start/finish line.
Race control took the decision to reverse the positions before the race restarted, and with a clear track in front of him, Jackson bolted away in his Ford Focus to claim a fifth BTCC victory at the circuit.
And despite having his slim hopes of staying in title contention dashed in race one, Jackson was overjoyed with how the weekend – his most successful of 2014 – played out.
“It’s great to take the win and obviously it was in quite dominant style,” Jackson told TouringCars.Net. “I’m very, very happy, the car has been faultless – all weekend it’s been on the pace and it’s a great result for everybody at Airwaves.
“He [Giovanardi] made a mistake,” he explained. “He went into the corner and lost the back end at Becketts and then repeated the same mistake at Brooklands.
“We’re good in clear air – if we can get away, the car is great so to get into the lead and then get a good restart, coupled with Fabrizio holding them up, it gave me the break we needed and from there really we felt home and dry.”
Jackson was the last driver in the 2014 field to be confirmed, but he insisted that the relationship between himself and his Motorbase Performance team was just as strong as ever, and pointed to the day’s results as justification of that statement.
“We both knew the reasons why the deal wasn’t done early on, but it’s great to come back and have the opportunity to drive with Airwaves, there is no hard feeling there in any way, shape or form.
“We’re proving this year that together we can achieve some good results and the season’s not over yet, hopefully we can go to Brands and capitalise on the performance we’ve had here and try and improve again.”
A strong weekend for Jackson contrasted with a lackluster one for Gordon Shedden, and with 34 points separating the pair going heading to the season-ending race weekend at Brands Hatch, the 2008 runner-up felt that there was every chance that he could end the season in the top three positions.
“Anything’s possible in this championship,” he concluded. “Absolutely, I think we’re in a good position and we’ve certainly got the pace in the car.
“We’ve got to see what Gordon goes like at Brands; they’ve had a nightmare here today which has helped us – they haven’t shown the dominant form that they’ve shown in the past so we’ll see.
“You look at it [the gap] but if somebody goes out of the race and we win it you pull 20-odd points, it can move around that much so as long as we’re consistent and do the best we can do, we can’t ask for any more than that.”