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Motorbase Performance on the pace at BTCC season opener

April 3rd 2016

Motorbase Performance on the pace at BTCC season opener

Motorbase Performance enjoyed a strong start to its 2016 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship campaign on home turf, with the Wrotham-based squad securing four top eight finishes during the championship's season opener on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit (April 2/3).

Mixed results for the Motorbase squad during Saturday's free practice and qualifying sessions saw Mat Jackson and Andrew Jordan qualify in P9 and P14 respectively with changing weather conditions and heavy traffic interrupting the duo's best chances of setting a fast lap on the short Indy layout.

A frenetic opening race to the 2016 season delivered the first double points finish of the weekend in front of a bumper home crowd. Jackson defended his position well despite a brief off-track moment and the #7 Focus ST managed to gain a spot to eventually cross the line in 8th. Jordan had a tougher battle on his hands after heavy contact on the opening lap and with the #77 Focus struggling with an engine power issue, the Red Bull athlete did well to fight his way through into P11.    

Jackson and Jordan team up in race 2Both Jackson and Jordan got a strong start off the line in race 2 working their way up through the field in the opening laps. Making good use of the safety car deployment in lap 3, the new team-mates delivered a textbook performance as they closed in on leading pack. With Jordan's lighter Focus moving ahead of Jackson's ballasted ST, the pair mounted a synchronised challenge on the MG's – taking first Sutton before moving in on Cook to steal past with an impressive double move to take 4th and 5th place spots, adding to the Motorbase squad's opening race points tally.

Starting in P5 and P6 following the reversed grid draw, Jackson and Jordan charged off the line straight into the thick of the action with Jackson slotting into 3rd place. Unfortunately slight contact between the two Fords as they headed down Paddock Hill forced the Pirtek Racing Focus into a huge slide and despite a remarkable recovery by Jordan, team-mate Jackson was forced into the pits with a puncture.

Mat Jackson took a weekend-best 5th in race 2Jordan continued his challenge from 5th before entertaining the crowd with an epic final charge, snatching a weekend-best 4th place finish from Neal's Honda Type R by just 0.037s as the two raced to the line.

Having claimed points finishes in all three of Sunday's races, the Motorbase Performance team leaves its home circuit in good form sitting in second place in both the overall team standings and independent team standings, whilst Andrew Jordan and Mat Jackson currently lie in 3rd and 5th in the independent drivers' championship.

The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship now has a two week break before returning for rounds 4, 5 and 6 at Donington Park on April 22/23.

Quotes: 

Team Manager Oly Collins:
"The net result of the weekend was a solid team performance, bagging some good points to sit second in the teams' championship amongst some very strong competition. We had a difficult qualifying session which hurts you a lot, especially at Brands Indy. Races two and three in particular showed that we have the car performing very well. Race three was a case of what could have been for Mat and Andrew, both suffering some damage which hampered the end result even though Andrew salvaged a good result from it despite the damage.

"Both drivers showed a really good race pace and we'll head to Donington aiming for stronger results still. It's a long Championship and we're in the mix."

Andrew Jordan secured two 4th place finishes on the Indy Circuit#7 Mat Jackson: 
"I think it's fair to say that we struggled a little bit in qualifying. It would have been nice to have been higher but we've worked away all weekend to try and drag more time out of the car and we've achieved that.

"Overall we've had a good result this weekend. The pace is definitely in the car. If we hadn't have got the puncture in race 3 then I think we would have been challenging for the win, unfortunately that wasn't the case. It's obviously very frustrating but we've made progress with the car and we showed in race 3 that we're competitive."

#77 Andrew Jordan: 
"Qualifying was obviously disappointing and then having an issue in race 1 hampered our results but from there we managed to turn it around to get two fourths and some good points. In general it started off not that great a weekend but actually came good today and I think if we hadn't have had the issue in race 1 then we would have had three decent results and possibly a podium.

"We're not quite there on the ultimate pace with the car but we're moving in the right way and we have a plan to work to heading to Donington."