Jackson wins Thruxton BTCC opener

Mat Jackson has won Thruxton’s first Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race which ended early under a red flag.

Jackson led every lap on a soaking wet track, taking advantage of a first-corner tangle between Andrew Jordan and Jason Plato (pictured) to move into first position.

Jordan’s Pirtek Racing Honda Civic, which had started from pole position, span across the track into the barriers while Plato’s delayed MG KX Momentum Racing MG6 was able to continue in fifth.

He would eventually make his way up to third to follow home Jackson’s Redstone Racing Ford Focus and Dave Newsham’s Team ES Racing.com Vauxhall Vectra. Newsham’s second place is the best result of his BTCC career to date.

Warwickshire’s Jackson said of his second win of the season: “The conditions were atrocious with standing water so it was important I made the most of the others getting delayed by Jason and Andrew’s incident. It gave me a vital break and meant I had a clear road ahead with no spray. When I saw the safety car boards come out I though ‘oh no’ so was relieved it was red-flagged in the end.”

Inverness racer Newsham added: “The red flag was a relief. The car was sliding about more and more every lap and becoming almost uncontrollable. I could maybe have had a go at pushing Mat early on but thought it best to not take any daft risks. It’s still a great result.”

Oxford’s Plato, whose third place extends his championship lead, commented: “Maybe I’m not as brave as I once was but the red flag was a welcome sight. The incident with Andrew at the first bend was just one of those things – he’d made a slow start, I was alongside and there’s the inevitable sticking out of elbows.”

And the disappointed Jordan explained: “I’d not got my car out of first gear very well which allowed Jason up alongside me. I was on a tighter line but wasn’t going to give my lead up that easy and it just got away from me. We’ve got quite a lot of damage to repair for race two.”

Finishing fourth and fifth, each having held third spot early on, were local Hampshire ace Robert Collard (eBay Motors BMW) and Frank Wrathall (Dynojet Toyota Avensis). Sixth and setting the race’s fastest lap as he fought through from 18th on the grid was Gordon Shedden in his Honda Yuasa Racing Team Civic. Reigning Champion Matt Neal was tenth having started 19th.

The safety car period and subsequent red flag followed a heavy crash at Allard corner for Liam Griffin’s Redstone Focus. Others to fall foul of the conditions included Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis duo Tony Hughes and Adam Morgan, the former crashing out at Goodwood, the latter retiring in the pit lane after running off the track. Rob Austin’s RAR Audi A4 lost a wheel on the opening lap and Daniel Welch was unable to start when his Welch Motorsport Proton Persona stopped on the way to the grid.