Mat Jackson admitted that he ‘couldn’t do any more’ in the final Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship meeting of 2016 at Brands Hatch GP, finishing third in the final standings.
The 2008 runner-up ended the season 16 points adrift of eventual champion, Gordon Shedden, having entered as one of a record eight drivers that could have lifted the trophy in Kent.
Local outfit Motorbase Performance ended the season on a high still, Jackson recovering from 19th in qualifying to claim a fifth victory of the season in the final race on Sunday from pole position.
Although Jackson missed out on Independents’ Championship success to team-mate Andrew Jordan, Motorbase clinched the Indy Teams’ title in a season that saw a mid-season blip cost the former in the overall title chase.
“I couldn’t do any more”, Jackson told The Checkered Flag. “What could we do? We could have finished the races that we didn’t finish.
“It is what it is and everybody could say the same. We’ve had too many things that haven’t gone our way and ultimately that’s what cost us.
“I don’t think we could have done anything more [at Brands Hatch]. Qualifying was poor and it put us on the back foot, but to come through and finish the season with the most wins is an achievement in itself.”
Victory in the final race of the season saw him climb from sixth to third in the Drivers’ Championship, making the Motorbase man the most triumphant on the grid in 2016 with five wins to his name.
Ultimately, Jackson lamented the points lost rather than gained across the season, which included six non-scores and two retirements at Croft and Snetterton that put him on the back foot after once topping the table.
“The championship is very different to winning races”, admitted the Ford driver. “Everything has to go in your favour to win it.
“This year is pretty unique because people have had a lot of bad luck, which has left it wide open. Eight drivers in the running to win was a record, so you just have to be consistent. We fell down when we shouldn’t.
“It just wasn’t to be this year.”
Echoing the responses of many of his fellow rivals this season, Jackson admitted that 2016 was one of the toughest and most hotly-contested years of his time in BTCC.
When asked by TCF, Jackson – who intends to remain with Motorbase in 2017 – said: “It is just so competitive and so hard. In my opinion, it is the hardest championship to win in saloon cars in the world.
“It’s been so wide open and when somebody had a bad result, it swung the other way. Here we were down in sixth in the championship heading into the last race and ended up jumping to third.”