HENLEY race ace Mat Jackson endured a testing time in the latest British Touring Car Championship meeting at Oulton Park in Cheshire but still played his part in helping his Motorbase Performance team extend their Independents Championship lead as they secured four top ten finishes during rounds ten, 11 and 12.
On-board weight hampered Jackson’s qualifying performance on Saturday afternoon as the Ford Focus ST struggled with outright pace on the Cheshire track.
Jackson toiled with the additional 48kg championship success ballast on-board the #7 Focus and had to settle for 25th spot.
A strong start in Sunday’s opening race saw Jackson deliver another of his trademark comeback drives and he had made up an impressive four places by the end of the opening lap.
The #7 Focus ST’s charge continued as he sat in 17th place by lap six and, with the majority of the grid running on the Dunlop soft compound tyre and little opportunity for overtaking on the notoriously tricky International circuit, the race soon settled into a processional formation and Jackson eventually crossed the line in P16.
Clear of ballast, Jackson’s race two proved more fruitful as the DUO-backed man finished tenth after a battling drive from 16th place, picking up 15 all-important points for his Independent Championship challenge in the process.
After just missing out on the reversed grid draw for Sunday’s closing race, Jackson’s grid position remained, but the success ballast increased with the #7 Focus ST loaded with 9kg.
Despite a promising start, contact on the #7 Focus resulted in Jackson dropping down the order and he ended the race in a disappointing P13.
Although a difficult weekend for the Motorbase squad off the back of such a hugely successful meeting at Thruxton, the Kent-based outfit extended their lead at the top of the Independent Teams Championship to 49 points, with Jackson third in the Independent Drivers’ standings and seventh overall.
“We’ve proven that the EcoBoost engine is capable of getting the results that we expect from Mountune with a different boost setting, but clearly we are struggling against our competitors who appear to have more straight line speed than us,” said Jackson.
“Maybe we need to revisit our aerodynamics to see what gains can be made there, but truthfully I think that TOCA need to look into it.
“It’s obvious that we’re struggling to keep up in a straight line, we’re fine in the corners, but of course it just means that we can’t race on a level playing field at the moment.”
The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship resumes at Croft in North Yorkshire for rounds 13, 14 and 15 on June 18/19.