BTCC Snetterton Race 3: Jackson Wins To Take Points Lead

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For the second time in as many races at Snetterton the championship lead changed hands, Mat Jackson scoring a fourth win of the season to lift him above the Honda pairing of Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal.

In something of a pattern this season Jackson converted a front row start in the reverse grid finale into a race win after passing poleman Dave Newsham early on the second lap of the Snetterton 300 circuit.

“We knew what we had to do,” Jackson said. “We hoped we'd get the jump off the line on Newsham but I just got too much wheelspin so he got the jump. He showed signs of the pressure, kept losing the rear end in the first corner and it cost him into the hairpin. Once we got in the lead it was concentrate on head down and pulling away, make a few mistakes as possible. We had a great race car, an immense level of grip and good for everyone at Airwaves Racing and Mountune.”

Newsham had got the better of the start and fended off Jackson around the opening lap before the Airwaves Racing driver took the lead. As Jackson pulled away towards victory Newsham put up a tough defense, fending off Paul O'Neill at the head of trio of Chevrolet Cruzes, the two Silverline backed cars in team formation behind.

For much of the race the Inverness based driver frustrated his rivals in the normally aspirated cars. Though O'Neill slipped by to take a second podium of the season when Newsham ran wide at the Montreal hairpin. The Widnes-based driver described the result as “the biggest result we've had since we with the started the team”, eclipsing the success with the Honda Integra in previous seasons

Jason Plato found Newsham a tougher proposition to pass, the Special Tuning Racing SEAT able to out drag the Chevrolet when Plato managed to draw alongside Newsham on the short blast between Montreal and Palmers.

Newsham seemed to have earned a maiden BTCC podium until the penultimate lap. Plato seized on an opportunity to take the third on the exit of the Esses before Matt Neal took fourth driving around the SEAT on the back straight, putting the proven Honda power and the lack of ballast to good use to make the pass comfortably enough to move across to take the racing line for the first element of the Esses, renamed Brundle in the new Snetterton scheme.

Alex MacDowall delivered the final blow to Newsham, applying his front bumper to ease Newsham wide at the final corner, creating space for himself, James Nash and Gordon Shedden to take fifth, sixth and seventh ahead of Newsham.

Shedden was perhaps fortunate to emerge from the race with points. He had been another to clip the foam barriers at Williams – placed there after the kerbing began to break up during Saturday's running – and pulled the bodywork away from the front-left of the car enough to draw a black and orange flag that should have had the driver pit to rectify the flapping wing.

Shedden however, had another way of solving the problem, clipping the same foam block a second time in a deliberate and precise move, managing to remove the wing but without further damaging the car. The move cost him a place to Nash, but kept him in the points.

Nick Foster and Rob Austin completed the top ten, Austin adding another point to his race two fastest lap after a fighting drive through the pack culminating in passing Tom OnslowCole on the final lap.

Tom Chilton and Andrew Jordan completed troubled race day, Jordan picking up only two points from the event in a serious dent to his championship aspirations. Martin Byford completed his debut weekend with a 16th place finish from the back of the grid and Daniel Welch took a third race finish on the first weekend for the Proton Gen-2.

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