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Improvement the objective for Mat Jackson after frustrating qualifying

Photo: Network Images

Mat Jackson was left a little frustrated after qualifying ninth ahead of the opening round of the new Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season, but the Motorbase Performance driver believes that on race pace, his team and car look to be in good shape.

Jackson, who claimed four race wins en route to stealing the show in the second half of last season, clocked a fastest lap time of 48.396 seconds, 0.406 seconds slower than pole-sitter Tom Ingram.

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He pointed to the development stage of the car under the new RML parts as a factor, but is content in the knowledge that it gives the engineering team at Motorbase more data to work with.

“It’s a new car, and we’re still in the learning phase of it. P9 – it’s not a disaster. Obviously we would like to be closer but it gives us more to go on. We’ll work away and keep chipping away to improve it.” he commented.

Jackson also believes the Ford Focus ST is stronger in race-spec and is mindful of the likely carnage when 32 NGTC cars arrive at Paddock Hill bend at 11:32 tomorrow morning.

“The first round of the season is always carnage. Obviously we’ve got to push, but we’ve got to be mindful of where we are. I think, in terms of a one-off lap, clearly that set the order for today. As an overall race, I think we’re in a good place.” he explained.

The 2008 championship runner-up also provided with an insight into the difficulties of this afternoon’s qualifying session, which was visited by a very light rain shower at half-distance amid the usual traffic problems around the tight, short Brands Hatch Indy circuit.

“The traffic is always a nightmare round Brands, it’s always difficult. The rain didn’t help because that wrote off the mid-part of the session and then it started to come back at the end. Tomorrow, we’ll be okay.”

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