Rockingham pole-sitter Mat Jackson was relieved to have claimed the top slot on the grid for round 22 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, the first qualifying pole position for Motorbase Performance in the series.
The 2008 BTCC runner-up broke the qualifying duck of the Ford Focus ST squad with a lap record-breaking effort at the Corby Speedway on Saturday, surviving a five-minute dash after a red flag interruption.
An extra five minutes was what saw him lose pole position late in Knockhill qualifying, but on this occasion it would not be the case as the Ford driver claimed his first pole position since Silverstone 2009.
With no repeat of the feat, Jackson told The Checkered Flag: “Obviously when the red flag came out it was like re-living the moment from Knockhill!
“This time we held on. It’s been steadily improving all day although FP1 was a write-off. In FP2, we only ran used tyres while everybody else ran new tyres, so it was always about hoping the pace would be in on the new set.”
On achieving the first pole position for the Motorbase squad in their BTCC career, spanning back to 2006, Jackson added: “It’s been many years of trying and hair loss, but we did it!
“To get that for David [Bartrum] is great. We’ve been together for so long so it’s nice to add another milestone.”
On his chances of converting pole into victory on the new machine’s seventh race, Jackson remained coy with so many variables to take into account.
“Pole is great, but for the races tomorrow we don’t know what is going to happen. It’s not going be easy because we’re on the back foot in terms of tyre knowledge over the race distance.
“In Knockhill we dropped off, but we just need to hang in there as best as we can. With people on different tyres and obviously different weights it’ll be interesting, but we’re in the best place.”