Mat Jackson said that he enters the final Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship meeting of 2016 at Brands Hatch GP in a “really good position”, carrying less weight for lying fifth in the table.
Despite a lowly 20th place on the grid, the Motorbase Performance Ford Focus ST recovered from 17th in race one to results of sixth and second place at the Northamptonshire circuit, ensuring Jackson remained one of eight drivers in the running for the 2016 title in two weekend’s time at Brands Hatch.
Runner-up back in 2008, Jackson said that he was happy to have kept himself in contention after a Silverstone weekend that was initially plagued by problems.
“It’s kept us in then and closed the gap on Sam [Tordoff], so we’re still in the mix”, Jackson told The Checkered Flag ahead of the final round on 1/2 October. “Obviously qualifying wasn’t good, race one wasn’t good, but then we turned the weekend around.
“We had a few issues with the car”, Jackson added of his race one struggles. “We solved them, but around here that makes things very hard. Then, to try and come through with weight made it harder.”
The remedy showed its worth in race two, Jackson surging through to sixth place from 17th on the grid. The final encounter of the day saw the Ford return to the podium, rounding Rob Collard‘s BMW 125i for a second place he would not surrender.
Victory went the way of Gordon Shedden on that occasion, Jackson saying that knowledge gained during the day may have paid dividends for the former, adding: “As the day went on, Dunlop learned a lot about the softer tyre and that’ ultimately helped.
“We weren’t going to catch [Shedden], but it was all about keeping Collard behind me as [Jason] Plato didn’t have the pace to pester Rob.”
Jackson enters the season finale at Brands Hatch GP circuit lying 21 points adrift of series leader, Sam Tordoff, but with the trump card of 36kg less success ballast than his rival for sitting fifth in the standings.
“I think we go there in a really good position because we carry less weight”, said Jackson ahead of the season finale. “It’s hurting people. 21 points – that’s a win. As you’ve seen today, Sam and Matt [Neal] have had a bit of a shocker, so it can change.
“We’ve had five zero scores and we’re still there, which I think sums up the championship. People have had bad results and are still in the mix. Anything can happen and all we can do is attack.
“I’m sure some of them will have two weeks of misery! We’ll go there with maximum attack and see what happens.”