Airwaves BMW enjoyed a solid weekend at Snetterton for Rounds 16, 17 and 18 of the 2010 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. With the sun shining and tens of thousands of fans lining the circuit, the team picked up a good points haul, with a podium finish for Mat Jackson the highlight of the weekend.
With the team boasting one of the finest driver pairings in the field, expectations are always high for the team, though troubles in qualifying this season has left them fighting tough battles in the races. This took a positive turn at Snetterton, with Jackson qualifying an impressive fourth on the grid, with Kane only half a second behind in eleventh.
Jackson produced a trademark BMW start at the beginning of Race one, leaping up into second place. There he remained throughout the race, unable to find a way past the Chevrolet of Jason Plato. He put pressure on the Cruze throughout, looking for gaps but unable to find one. Despite previous experience showing that FWD cars would drop off towards the end of the race, Plato's car seemed to find a new lease of life in the second half of the race and began pulling away. A surprised Jackson stuck to his guns and came home second for a 12 much needed points.
Kane got stuck into the midfield battle, spending his race battling hard against the likes of Tom Boardman, Andrew Jordan and Paul O'Neill. After laps of constantly swapping places, Kane finally emerged at the front of the quartet, finishing seventh for 4 hard earned points.
Race two proved to be a tough race for Jackson. Starting second, he did well at the beginning to cement his place, but was soon caught up by the very quick LPG power Ford Focuses. Unable to cope with their pace down the straights, the Airwaves BMW was overtaken by both at the same time on the Revett Straight, squeezing him down to 4th, where he encountered his team-mate Kane.
This was after Kane began working his way up the field. After a solid first few laps, he made his move on lap 4, moving past James Nash and Gordon Shedden into fifth. He then later capitalised on a mistake by Jackson, who ran wide at Sear, to move into fourth. Jackson held off Shedden for the remainder of the race to help the team pick up two top five finishes and a solid 14 point haul.
Race three turned out to be a slightly disappointing one for Jackson. Starting sixth on the road thanks to the top ten being reversed, he quickly moved up a spot into fifth after the then race leader Nash threw himself off the road. The main talking point of the race then occurred, with contact between Jackson and Tom Onslow-Cole at the Esses losing the Airwaves BMW man momentum and a place, while forcing the Focus driver to the back of the pack. Jackson lost only one place and finished the race a solid seventh.
Kane started one place behind Jackson due to the reverse grid and moved up into sixth ahead of his team mate after Jackson's contact with Onslow-Cole. From then on, despite pushing his BMW hard in an attempt to move up the field, Kane was unable to cope with the speed of the Chevrolet's and Ford's and held onto his place until the end.
Coming away from the weekend, Kane has moved into the lead of the Independent Drivers Championship, four points ahead of Onslow-Cole, while staying fifth in the overall standings. Jackson sits just one place and 8 points further back in the overall standings, as well as being hot on the heels of Onslow-Cole in the Independent standings.
As for the team, the good points haul help them to continue to lead the Independents Teams championships, while sitting second in the overall Teams Championship.
Reflecting on the weekend, Steven Kane said: “A difficult weekend out there but a good points haul for the team. In terms of the bigger picture the Ford's and Chevy's seem to gave a real advantage and it seems to surface only when they need it too. I think the car feels great and extremely competitive so here at Snetterton I think we've done alright overall”
Looking back at the weekend, Mat Jackson said: “If I said I was satisfied I'd be lying, if I said I was disappointed I would too! Race one today was great, race two we got some solid points and in race three I felt I was unlucky to be involved in the incident with Onslow-Cole, I'm not sure he gave me the room he could have and with his pace down the straight I'm not sure if he needed to position his car where he did. I'm looking forward to Silverstone, the team and Jeff in particular have done a fantastic job with the car and I'm raring to get on with it and get the job done”