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News 2010: Kane Kicks Up a Gear for Airwaves BMW

March 25th

Mat Jackson, Steven KaneAirwaves BMW's Steven Kane set the early pace at the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship's annual Media Day at Brands Hatch on Tuesday (March 23), posting an early warning to the opposition of his intent to follow fellow-Ulsterman Colin Turkington to the most prestigious crown in British motor sport.

The 29-year-old ended the three-hour morning test session on top of the time sheets with a lap time of 48.821 seconds, just inside the Kent circuit's qualifying record and nearly half-a-second quicker than the closest BMW; team-mate Mat Jackson, adjusting to the switch back from the front-wheel-drive Chevrolet he campaigned last year to the rear-wheel-drive BMW 320si, was ninth.

Mat JacksonOn a day when even the most experienced pundits did not predict such a close fight for times, four drivers dipped below the Indy circuit's qualifying record – all four within two-tenths of a second - while eight bettered the existing lap record, promising a sensationally close-fought season ahead.

And Kane was right in the mix. While he slipped to fourth-fastest in the afternoon session – a further demanding three hours on circuit – he ended the day third overall and still fastest of the BMWs; Jackson was just seven-tenths shy of the day's best time, as the Motorbase team used the valuable six hours on their home track to work through a test programme of different qualifying and race set-ups on the two cars.

Mat Jackson, Steven KaneAirwaves BMW team boss David Bartrum said: "After the pressures of the past few weeks, its been fantastic to just let the driving do the talking; bearing in mind he hasn't seriously tested since the end of last year, Steven did a brilliant job . . . he did more than 120 laps during the day and has certainly reminded us of the good form he showed last time here at Brands, when he finished second twice.

"Now, we just need to get to Thruxton, and see what we can do there. Test days like Tuesday are always a bit of a lottery, as you don't know exactly what the other teams are up to, but Thruxton will be the acid test. Time to put up or shut up!

Steven Kane, Mat Jackson"Our boys have a fantastic record there, and its not the easiest circuit on the calendar, so we're just looking forward to Easter weekend, when the real action starts." Jackson has won at Thruxton in both BMW and Chevrolet touring cars (and, previously in the one-make SEAT championship), while Kane won all four Porsche Carrera Cup GB races in 2007.

In addition to title sponsorship from popular chewing gum brand Wrigley's Airwaves, the Motorbase Performance-run BMWs also enjoy major backing from Leyland Paints, one of the UK's front-running business brands, and The Money Shop, which is Britain's leading cheque-cashing business.

Brands Hatch Media Day, March 23 – combined classification:

1 Jason Plato (Chevrolet Cruze) - 48.662s
2 Gordon Shedden (Honda Civic) - 48.817s
3 Steven Kane (Airwaves BMW 320is) - 48.821s
4 Tom Chilton (Ford Focus ST) - 48.829s
5 Matt Neal (Honda Civic) - 48.930s
6 Rob Collard (BMW 320is) - 48.963s
7 Alex MacDowall (Chevrolet Cruze) - 49.109s
8 Tom Onslow-Cole (Ford Focus ST) - 49.144s
9 Paul O'Neill (Honda Integra) - 49.193s
10 Andrew Jordan (Vauxhall Vectra) - 49.273s
11 Mat Jackson (Airwaves BMW 320is) - 49.357s
12 David Pinkney (Vauxhall Vectra) - 49.392s
13 Andy Neate (BMW 320is) - 49.462s
14 Matt Hamilton (Honda Civic) - 49.639s
15 John George (Honda Integra) - 49.935s
16 Tom Boardman (SEAT Leon) - 49.949s
17 Martin Johnson (Vauxhall Astra Coupe) - 50.085s
18 Lea Wood (Honda Integra) - 50.234s
19 Arthur Forster (BMW 320si) - 51.820s