Jackson Storms To Victory, Plato And Neal DNF
Submitted on October 7th 2012 16:19 by Chris Ashby.
Mat Jackson has taken his third win of the season and first for his brand new NGTC Ford Focus after starting in 17th position in race two at Silverstone of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
In a season that has be unpredictable and full of drama, Round 26 showed that anything can happen in the BTCC when both Matt Neal and Jason Plato failed to finish to allow Gordon Shedden to extend his championship lead to 27 points now with only four more races of the season to go.
Jackson, who had been leading the first race of the day before mechanical issues hit, used the speed of the Redstone Focus to power his way from row nine to take a maiden victory and repay the hard work of his Motorbase team. Plato had led off the line with Rob Collard following behind and it appeared that it would stay that way to the finish and give Plato a massive push towards Shedden. However as Jackson was slipping past Collard on the pit straight they both had to avoid Plato who had slowed dramatically with an electrical problem, and not for the first time this season, to where Jackson powered into the distance.
Further down the pack the excitement and action was building firstly with Andy Neate yet again involved in an incident as he out braked himself into Becketts, thus allowing Will Bratt to sneak up the inside but making contact with the front quarter of the MG6 causing Neate to have a puncture and Bratt to retire with rear suspension damage.
Defending champion Matt Neal had a race to forget however after the Honda Yuasa driver retired after a massive fire raged on the passenger side of the Civic. Neal had been running a lowly 15th and battling with Dan Welch when the fire spread down the side of the car and when parked it, grabbed a fire extinguisher to put the fire out himself. The smoke brought the safety car out for a few laps and the sight of a disappointed, angry Matt Neal on the side of the track showed the stress of the championship battle.
The man that benefited from everyone else’s bad luck was championship leader Gordon Shedden. The Scot brought his NGTC Honda Civic over the line in 7th after a hard fought battle with the eBay BMW drivers Nick Foster and Tom Onslow-Cole. Shedden used the strengths of the chassis to stay in the battle even though it was clear he was down on straight line speed to add another nine points to his championship lead.
As Jackson claimed the race win and a new lap record Collard took an excellent second place finish and Dave Newsham took another podium to cross the line in third. Aron Smith was fourth and Rob Austin again followed him home in fifth. Onslow-Cole and Shedden were sixth and seventh with Welch, Jordan and Foster rounding out the top ten.
With Plato and Neal not finishing it now means Shedden has 354 points in the championship with Neal still on 333 and Plato on 327.
The reverse grid draw was carried out by Derek Redmond and Mark Aitchison where number 10 was drawn placing Nick Foster on the pole position slot for the final race of the day which also sees Matt Neal and Jason Plato starting on rows 10 and 11 will take place at 17:20 and can be seen on ITV4 or www.itv.com/btcc
PHOTO CREDIT: Jonathon Hobley