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Jackson wins BTCC reverse-grid race at Snetterton

Sunday, August 07 2011

Mat Jackson took a commanding victory in the last Dunlop MSA British Touring Car race of the day, his fourth reverse-grid win of the year. The Airwaves Focus driver now leads the championship, on a day when the lead changed hands twice and the points gap has narrowed dramatically.

Jackson made a fine start but was forced to follow Newsham into Riches and the remainder of the 300 circuit on the opening lap. However he was into the lead just a few corners into lap two and with O'Neill unable to attack the Seat quite as effectively, Jackson made good his escape.

The Chevrolets followed, with Nash and Shedden squabbling behind them. The winner of today's second race then took the Triple 8 Vauxhall, as Onslow-Cole followed behind, awaiting the inevitable attack from Neal. He was once again on the move, up to eleventh by the end of lap one and picking off the top ten one by one.

Newsham was backing up the field but at the race's mid-point, O'Neill had got past and he came under intense attack from Plato, free to pile on the pressure now that MacDowall had a mirror-full of Shedden. The number 52 Honda needed to act, for Nash and Neal were also joining the fight.

Newsham nearly lost the place on lap eight, after running wide at Montreal and it looked likely that Plato would soon be past, especially now that Neal had cleared Nash. Not long after, he added Shedden to his collection of scalps but the championship-leader had to pit with loose front bodywork. Whilst things looked bleak for the Scotsman, the errant piece flew off and he remained in contention, albeit after losing a place to Nash.

The last two laps focussed on the efforts to remove Newsham from the podium and with three cars behind him, including Plato and Neal, it looked likely that something would happen. Plato took third at Nelson and with Newsham struggling on his tyres, Neal attacked MacDowall down the Senna Straight. He now had a lap to wrest fourth place, which he managed with time to spare when the Seat ran wide, losing several places. He finished just ahead of Tom Onslow-Cole, Nick Foster and an impressive Rob Austin.

Up front, Jackson could not be caught but O'Neill was ecstatic with second place. Plato's championship comes back alive with another podium place, with Neal salvaging his weekend with points for fourth. Jackson leads the championship from Shedden, Neal and Plato. Nash and Jordan remain in contention.

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship Race Three


2. Mat Jackson, Airwaves, Ford, 12 Laps
3. Paul O'Neill, Tech-Speed, Chevrolet, +3.340s
5. Jason Plato, Silverline, Chevrolet, +6.740s
4. Matt Neal, Honda, +9.117s
4. Alex MacDowall, Silverline, Chevrolet, +10.770s
6. James Nash, Triple 8, Vauxhall, +11.087s
7. Gordon Shedden, Honda, +11.933s
1. Dave Newsham, Special Tuning, SEAT, +12.084s
8. Tom Onslow-Cole, AON, Ford, +17.568s
9. Nick Foster, WSR, BMW, +14.507s
10. Rob Austin, Rob Austin Racing, Audi, +15.888s

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