The Indianpost

Jackson not surprised with Motorbase’s performance

Mat Jackson heads to Knockhill this weekend as the championship leader for the first time in the independently entered Ford Focus ST, ahead of the manufacturer backed heavyweights of Honda and Chevrolet, and says he’s not surprised how well the Wrotham-based team have performed this season. 
Jackson enjoys an eight point lead in the BTCC standings over Honda Racing Team driver Gordon Shedden after a strong weekend three weeks ago at Snetterton, but has his eye on Chevrolet’s Jason Plato who is 20 points behind at Knockhill, fearing the light, normally aspirated Chevrolet Cruze will be the chief threat this weekend.

“Leading the championship heading into the final leg of the championship is great and is testament to how well the car and team are working,” said Jackson.

“The only down side is that we have to carry the 45kg of success ballast that is attached to the championship lead…we are some 70kg heavier than the Cruze of Plato which is a huge difference especially around a circuit like Knockhill.”

In relative terms, Plato will also be carrying 18kg of success ballast as the reigning champion is now in fourth place in the standings, so the difference in weight between the Focus and Plato’s Cruze will be 52kg going in qualifying and the first race, but Plato’s team-mate Alex MacDowall and the independent Cruze of Paul O’Neill which were also strong at Snetterton will benefit from no ballast at the start of the weekend.

“It’ll be interesting to see how the ‘parity’ debate plays out this weekend,” said Motorbase’s Team Manager Oly Collins. “Personally I think Knockhill has a similarity in characteristics to Brands Indy. With all the turbos on full song at the start of the season the Chevy dominated at Brands, since then all turbo cars have been reduced in power and the Chevy has been lightened by 25kg so I would expect a Chevy 1-2 by some margin in qualifying.”

Jackson’s putting to the back of his mind the threat of Chevrolet and the two Hondas however, and aiming to continue his consistent points gathering strategy at Knockhill.

“Am I surprised that we are where we are? Not in the slightest. I have full confidence in mine and the teams’ ability and actually think we should be leading by even more points! For sure it will be a tough weekend due to ballast, we do struggle through the slower corners as we don’t have any engine braking but all we can do is the best with what we have got.”

“I’m looking to take away 30 points as we have tried to do so far in every race ‘Points make Prizes’ and this weekend will be no different from our perspective as we need to remain in the hunt until the last round, there is still a long way to go.”

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