Airwaves BMW stars Mat Jackson and Steven Kane will line up fourth and eleventh on the grid for Round sixteen of the 2010 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship after a tricky qualifying session in the Snetterton rain.
Two dry free practice sessions earlier in the day produced solid results for the team, with Kane fourth and Jackson fifth quickest in the first session, with the pair seventh and ninth in the second. Things were looking positive for the team as they headed into qualifying, but things weren't made easy for them, with the ominous dark clouds that lay overhead all day, finally producing rain just as the session was about to began.
The change in conditions led to a frantic changeover of tyres as the Airwaves team quickly opted to fit their BMW 320si's with wets all round. Although many teams went for different options, hoping the rain shower was only brief, Airwaves decision proved right in the end as the rain continued throughout the session. Once out on the right tyres, the Airwaves drivers quickly went about trying to set quick times.
The star for Airwaves was Jackson, the driver once again showcasing his superb wet weather skills to the fans. His time of 1.20.094 but him into second at the time, but he was unable to beat it and finished up fourth. It proved a trickier session for team mate Kane, who was at one point as high as third with a time of 1.20.827. But the Northern Irishman struggled to get to grips with the wet conditions in a car set up for the dry, and was unable to go any quicker, gradually slipping down the order to finish up eleventh.
The team have struggled with qualifying pace all season, with poor performances in qualifying regularly leaving them in tricky positions as they head into the first race of the weekend. It's clear to see the team have been working on it over the summer break, to good effect, with Jackson's time over a second clear of the teams nearest BMW rival, WSR driver Rob Collard, who ended the session tweltfth.
Jackson was happy with his days work, saying: “It was a very positive day for me and the team and the car was very quick out there. It was a very tough session, the car was set-up for a dry track so I had to fight to keep it in line, but give me the wet any day! It's so much more challenging to drive in these conditions and rain is always a good leveller. We're in good shape for tomorrow and my eye is on a podium. ”
Despite being only half a second off rookie Alex MacDowall's pole time of 1.19.332, Kane came away from the session unhappy, saying: “I'm obviously very disappointed as I didn't get to show my true pace when the circuit was at its best. Not being on the track at the right time, in the right conditions with the new tyres on made us miss the window we needed to put a solid lap together. We're still in there fighting and it's a reasonable grid position compared to the last two rounds, so we can take some positives out of qualifying which we can take to the race and get stuck in tomorrow morning.”
The team head into the races feeling positive, with them outpacing their BMW rivals WSR and Forsters to provide the two quickest BMW's on the grid. With Jackson in a position to challenge for a podium and Kane looking to work his way up the order to try and maintain his record of picking up a podium at every round so far, fans of Airwaves BMW should look forward to three action packed, exciting races.