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Mat Jackson: Rockingham pole ‘puts us in right place for tomorrow’

Mat Jackson was thrilled to have secured pole position for Round 22 of the British Touring Car Championship at Rockingham after a scintillating performance in qualifying.

The Motorbase driver landed pole with a qualifying lap record of the Northamptonshire circuit, setting a best time of 1:22.807s in the final quarter of the session.

The result marks Jackson’s first qualifying pole in the championship since 2009, and while it was also his first with the team, perhaps more significantly it was Motorbase’s first outright pole in the championship.

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Speaking to TouringCars.Net, Jackson was delighted with his exploits but insisted that he had plenty to do before he could think about a victory.

“It’s great,” he exclaimed. “It obviously puts us in the right place for tomorrow, but we’ve still got a lot of racing ahead of us so we need to get a good start and make sure we can convert that into what we’re here for – a win.”

There was a late scare for Jackson, as the session was extended into a five-minute shootout after a red flag was thrown to recover Derek Palmer Jr’s stricken Infiniti.

It was the second time in as many races that Jackson had led as the session was restarted but while at Knockhill he lost pole in the dying seconds of the session, he this time held on for pole.

“You just think ‘here you go’,” he said of the red flag scenario. “But the lap is a little bit longer here which gives people less opportunity to put a lap together.

“We tried for another lap but we didn’t have the balance in the car, but it’s fantastic to hold on which ultimately puts us in a good place for tomorrow.”

Jackson celebrates with David Bartrum

Despite missing out on pole at Knockhill, Jackson’s Saturday exploits mark a second weekend of competitive performance in succession – something that the Ford Focus driver was quick to acknowledge.

“We’ve done a lot of work on the chassis over the winter. Unfortunately we couldn’t make it at the start of the year but we’ve always felt there was a lot of pace in the car.

“Where we are probably struggling is over a race distance and just trying to keep the degradation to a minimum with the tyre,” continued Jackson. “We go into tomorrow with a little bit of an unknown again, but we’re learning from every race we do and hopefully we can pull something out of the bag where we can match the other guys.”

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