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Jackson targets BTCC points lead at Snetterton this weekend

Thursday, August 04 2011

The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship heads to the new Snetterton 300 circuit this weekend (6/7 August) with just nine points separating the top two in the table. However, only one of them appears to be confident of their chances ahead of the Norfolk races.

Second-placed Mat Jackson has been a regular winner since 2007 but this year represents his first serious tilt at the prestigious crown and he's up for the challenge. "It's good to be back racing," Airwaves Racing's Mat said. "Hopefully we can keep the form we have been producing and improve, and come away from Snetterton closing the gap to Honda. That is the overall aim, everybody is refreshed and ready to rock and roll again.

"We're in the title fight and it's taken a lot of hard work to get there. We have had a productive mid-season break and hopefully we can hit the ground with more pace at Snetterton. I feel we are in a strong position just nine points behind Honda, which is good, but there will be a lot of desperate dives from teams out there. 

"We know the opposition, we know the Honda is very quick and I think you are going to see a completely different story. I think Chevrolet are going to be opening the hatch, which will make it an interesting second half of the season."

Meanwhile championship leader and double champion Matt Neal fears that his Honda Civic has reached the limit of its development and it's only a matter of time before he is overhauled.

"The Honda is a 'wrung sponge', there's no more to come out of it," said Neal. "I'm always realistic about what other people should be achieving with what they've got and, given what they have got on paper, they should have been doing better and giving us a much tougher time of it so far.

"There have been some major concerns inside the car. Brands Hatch, Donington, Thruxton you name it, I've been hearing some strange noises from the tyres and at Thruxton I was getting a massive vibration through the steering.

"But the beauty about the Civic is its consistency at every circuit weve been to. All-round it's a great car, so it's going to be a case of keeping our heads down, finishing races and seeing where we are at the end. There is going to be an element of luck involved."

Jackson isn't so sure of Neal's lack of confidence, however: "I don't believe them for a minute. They will surely have found a bit more performance during the break and so will the others so it's important we don't stand still. Make no mistake, this is the time of the season when the top teams and drivers really crank it up and we need to make sure we've got the legs to go with them."

Neal's team mate Gordon Shedden is also in the hunt, just 20 points adrift, which is little more than a race win. Andrew Jordan, James Nash and Jason Plato are also ready to attack and if there's one thing the main contenders agree on, it's that the fight resumes at the perfect venue.

"I think the Snetterton 300 will be a great touring car circuit," Jackson said. It's a lot more demanding than the previous layout and MSV have done a fantastic job developing the track. I'm really looking forward to it." 

Neal added: "That infield section is a challenge all on its own. In a race situation it's the sort of section where errors will creep in and lead to quite a bit of ganging up and lots of overtaking opportunities."

New spectator banks provide panoramic views of the circuit. For the first time fans will be able to see the action all around the track, with a superb arena section overlooking the new infield loop, where Neal, Jackson and the rest of the field will be scrapping over every inch of the tarmac. 

Raceday tickets for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Snetterton are available on the gate for £30, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information, click the link below

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