Mat Jackson secured victory in the final British Touring Car Championship race of the day at Croft, taking a combative approach to steal the lead away from namesake Ollie Jackson and hold-off round-winner Ashley Sutton for victory.
Jackson began his march to the top step of the podium by passing Rob Austin down the inside on the run down to the first turn, and was sizing up pole-sitter Ollie Jackson before a safety car was deployed late in the opening lap.
The pause in proceedings had been caused by the tyre stack at Hawthorn being mowed down and pushed into the middle of the road by the midfield squabblers. It was a particularly bitter incident for Tony Gilham Racing, who saw both Will Burns and Mike Epps eliminated in the opening exchanges.
After the restart, it wasn’t long until Mat Jackson was making a move for the lead. His inside dive at Sunny In on Ollie Jackson was far from perfect, pushing the Audi into a half-spin and through the grass, sending him down to 10th place. As Austin buckled down to stave off the challenge of the rear-wheel drive Subarus behind, Jackson was able to escape into the distance and build a four second lead.
Sutton had squeezed his way down the inside of team-mate Jason Plato for 3rd at the hairpin soon after the restart, and by lap nine had used the superior traction of his rear-wheel drive Subaru to blaze past Austin down the pit straight for 2nd. By the final lap, he had caught the yellow Focus of Jackson, and used his only chance at victory to try an audacious move around the outside of the hairpin. Jackson held his line, forcing Sutton off into the grass and consigning him to a pair of second places, rather than a pair of wins.
While Sutton’s last gasp move did not succeed, Plato’s late efforts were more fruitful. Austin’s front-wheel drive Toyota was suffering badly through the final sector with a lack of traction, and the former champion used this to his advantage, pulling alongside Austin as they approached the line. He stole the final podium place away by mere hundredths of a second.
Matt Neal was the fastest car on track, his Honda now sans-ballast thanks to two dreadful races earlier in the day. The lack of weight saw him work his way up from 18th to 5th, though his final move on Rob Collard was a controversial one. Similar to the Jacksons earlier, Neal attempted a lunge at Sunny In, hitting Collard in the rear and forcing the BMW driver to the escape road.
Collard being pushed wide sent him to the back of a full BMW train, with Race 2 winner Colin Turkington in sixth and Andrew Jordan in seventh both ahead of him. Gordon Shedden had looked quick early in the proceedings, having been one of the many drivers to make his way past Jordan down the inside at Tower. Ultimately he couldn’t hold off the swarming rear-wheel drive cars and dropped to ninth by the end.
|1||Mat Jackson||Motorbase Performance||24:06.484|
|2||Ashley Sutton||Adrian Flux Subaru Racing||+0.877|
|3||Jason Plato||Adrian Flux Subaru Racing||+16.032|
|4||Rob Austin||Handy Motorsport||+16.073|
|5||Matt Neal||Honda Yuasa Racing||+16.517|
|6||Colin Turkington||Team BMW||+16.779|
|7||Andrew Jordan||BMW Pirtek Racing||+17.575|
|8||Rob Collard||Team BMW||+19.630|
|9||Gordon Shedden||Halfords Yuasa Racing||+21.336|
|10||Ollie Jackson||AmD Tuning||+21.800|
|11||Martin Depper||Motorbase Performance||+22.157|
|12||Adam Morgan||Ciceley Motorsport||+22.487|
|13||Gordon Smiley||BTC Norlin Racing||+23.397|
|14||Senna Proctor||Power Maxed Racing||+25.645|
|15||Dave Newsham||BTC Norlin Racing||+29.078|