After claiming a second Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race victory of the season at Thruxton, Mat Jackson said that consistency will again be the biggest factor at Oulton Park next month.
The weekend in Hampshire saw both Jackson and Motorbase Performance team-mate Andrew Jordan visit the top step of the podium on Sunday, the former recovering from a puncture in race one to claim a comfortable race three triumph from the first corner.
The Motorbase Ford driver was one of numerous drivers to suffer from a lap 10 tyre failure in a shortened opening race, a fate that also struck Matt Neal a lap later in incident that lead to the subsequent red flag. Organisers took the decision to shorten the remaining races in an attempt to protect the rubber from further punctures, on what was described as an ‘unseasonably hot’ day at Thruxton.
“Obviously it didn’t start the way that it should’ve which was frustrating,” Jackson told The Checkered Flag. “But to top it off in the end with race three is a good result. It’s been a good weekend overall.
“[The tyre] literally exploded on the straight. Normally you’d get a vibration and know that it’s coming but on these tyres you don’t, it just lets go. It put us on the back foot so we had to push and risk quite a lot coming forward and to get the reverse grid was good.”
On the subject of tyre issues over the weekend, Jackson commented: “We never get to test at Thruxton when it’s hot and tyre testing can’t be done in the temperature and clearly something needed to be done.
“It’s an abrasive circuit; something needed to be done, whether it was a reduction of boost to reduce speed to reduce the amount of load put through them or reduce the race. Who knows, but something needed to be done.”
Jackson admitted that his rivals from Halfords Yuasa Racing were one of his primary concerns, adding: “They’ve certainly got some pace in the the Hondas. Without the ballast in there they were seriously quick, but we managed to get enough of a gap on them at the right place and at the right time.”
The 2008 BTCC runner-up heads into the fourth meeting of the season at Oulton Park fourth in the Drivers’ Championship, 11 points adrift and confident that the Ford Focus ST will be a strong package.
“I think it will be much of the same”, Jackson said, looking ahead to the Cheshire meeting on 4/5 June. “The championship at the moment seems you have to finish. The people that are finishing are up there. There’s a lot of DNFs which is not good.
“I think for us, Oulton will be strong. The chassis is in the window and we’ll have to see what happens with the boost. If it gets changed around, we’ll see who gets what – that’s also going to play a part either way.”