Airwaves BMW driver Mat Jackson reckons that there isn't an obvious title favourite ahead of rounds four, five and six of the 2010 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
Jackson, who took a brace of podium finishes en route to sitting third in the standings after Thruxton, behind double Champion Fabrizio Giovanardi and 2001 Champion and 2009 team mate Jason Plato reckons that Plato isn't going to walk the title after it was announced that Italian superstar Giovanardi isn't going to race at Rockingham.
Talking to btcc.net the twenty eight year old, who finished as the series runner up in 2008 said: “Any talk about giving the trophy to Jason now just because Fabrizio is gone is very wrong, we've only done three races – there are 27 left. It'd be a very brave man who walked into the bookies and put all their money on him at such an early stage of the season.
“At the end of the day, it was the Vectra and the BMW that did the winning at Thruxton. Sure, that Chevrolet Cruze of Jason's is very quick and it's run by a top team in RML – I know, I drove for them last year – but I maybe expected it to be a bit quicker.
“On saying that, I think Thruxton also showed Jason has changed his approach slightly for 2010. He seemed happy to sit there and take a pair of second places. That doesn't mean he's suddenly turned into a soft touch – he's perhaps just thinking about it that bit more.”
Looking ahead to Rockingham, Henley-in-Arden based Jackson reckons twelve drivers are in with a shout of outright podium finishes and half of those twelve are outright title contenders.
“You instantly think how fast the two (factory-assisted) Dynamics Honda Civics were at Thruxton with Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden. While it didn't go their way on the day they've clearly turned that car into a different animal during the winter,” added Jackson, “Plus you've got the two Aon Fords of Tom Chilton and Tom Onslow-Cole. We didn't really see what they are capable of at Thruxton and with all the winter testing they've done they could even be the fastest cars in the field yetâ€¦ we just don't know.
“I can even see someone like Andrew Jordan getting in on the act at Rockingham – the extra torque from the turbo engine in his Vectra is going to be of use out of the hairpins. You've also got the two Triple Eight Vectras of Philip Glew and James Nash – who's back and with a point to prove – getting in on the act and you can never discount Paul O'Neill in that Honda Integra.
“And then you've got us! The Airwaves BMW is the best-sorted BMW I've ever driven around Thruxton and that's with very limited testing. Myself, Steven and Robert Collard in the WSR car should all be thinking the title is on. Remember, WSR's BMW won twice at Rockingham last year but I don't know if that's an accurate guide for what's in store this weekend. We've also got a new tyre coming in from Dunlop so there are a lot of unknownsâ€¦”
Photo credit: Vince Pettit Photography