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Dream return for Motorbase and Jackson at Snetterton BTCC test

Thursday, July 16 2015

Mat Jackson and the Motorbase team sensationally topped the official Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship test session at Snetterton today (Thursday), laying down the gauntlet  to the opposition ahead of their return to the series at the Norfolk next month (8/9 August).

Jackson's time, in the team's brand new EcoBoost-engined Ford Focus, was recorded at the end of a day in which 24 of the 32 runners gathered valuable data before their return to the 300 circuit in three weeks' time.

Several drivers also used the session to test new Dunlop rubber, which the company is intending to use next year. Colin Turkington, who was second overall, was one of them, with Matt Neal, Andrew Jordan, Andy Priaulx and Josh Cook also evaluating the tyres.

Reigning champion Turkington topped the morning session with a time that was good enough for second overall, with Jordan, who is searching for his first win with MG, third at the end of the day. The 2013 champion had a very productive test, completing 120 laps of the 300 circuit.

Despite recording just 45 laps due to a power steering issue, Jason Plato ended the day with the fourth fastest time, and the double champion heads into the second half of the season just ten points behind leader Gordon Shedden, who finished eighth, one place ahead of team-mate Neal, but behind Priaulx, Aron Smith and Tom Ingram. Sam Tordoff completed the top ten, meaning that Honda, BMR, WSR, MG, Motorbase and Speedworks should all be in the hunt for pole position on 8 August.

The test also included Nicolas Hamilton, brother of Formula 1 World Champion Lewis, who ended the day 19th out of the 24 runners. The list also featured series returnee Rob Holland in the Handy Motorsport Toyota Avensis, and Tony Gilham, who shared driving duties in the Team HARD Avensis with Kieran Gallagher.

Session-topper Jackson said: "Obviously it's the first time we've been out this year with the competition, we saved a set of tyres for the last ten minutes, and it worked. It was a very good lap in terms of the car and the chassis working together, and we also got a tow off Warren Scott in the BMR car off the Bentley Straight, so that helped us do it. The car feels very quick, but we're very mindful of the time that Jason set last year was a pretty quick time, so I'm sure that everybody's got a bit more there to play with.

"It's brilliant to leave here knowing that we're in the mix, it's been a lot of hard work from David and all the boys at Motorbase to try and get this programme back on the road. It hasn't been an easy start to the season, so to come back and prove that we haven't lost anything is very positive. We can go away looking forward to coming back to Snetterton in three weeks' time."

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship test
1, Mat Jackson, Motorbase Performance, Ford Focus, 66 laps, 1:57.216s
2, Colin Turkington, Team BMR, VV CC, 103 laps, +0.152s
3, Andrew Jordan, MG 888 Racing, MG 6GT, 120 laps, +0.173
4, Jason Plato, Team BMR, VW CC, 45 laps +0.365
5, Andy Priaulx, WSR, BMW 125i M Sport, 91 laps, +0.431
6, Aron Smith, Team BMR, VW CC, 63 laps, +0.513
7, Tom Ingram, Speedworks Motorsport, Toyota Avensis, 46 laps, +0.559s
8, Gordon Shedden, Honda Racing, Honda Civic Type R, 56 laps +0.591s
9, Matt Neal, Honda Racing, Honda Civic Type R, 65 laps, +0.811s
10 Sam Tordoff, WSR, BMW 125i M Sport, 76 laps +1.008s

Tickets for the BTCC at Snetterton on 8/9 August are available online from £26, with free entry for under-13s. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.