Redstone Racing leaves Snetterton in a buoyant mood at the end of a successful weekend of racing at Round 6 of Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship’s (BTCC) visit to Snetterton circuit on 11th/12th August 2012.
Having run the all new Mountune-powered NGTC Ford Focus for the first time during Saturday’s qualifying session, Sunday’s race day results far exceeded any hopes the team had for its debut. The new machine - piloted by Mat Jackson – turned out to be the surprise star of the weekend, managing to secure three top eight finishes.
Running only two Focuses for the weekend, whilst Liam Griffin takes a short sabbatical, team-mate Aron Smith also rose to the occasion putting in a sterling performance that saw him net two top ten finishes and his highest finishing position to date of 7th.
The first race of the day looked encouraging for the new NGTC machine as Jackson expertly worked his way through the field from P16 to P11 in the first 12 laps. The Redstone Racing driver steadily closed the 3 second gap from Lea Wood’s Vectra to move past on the final lap taking 9th position – just as Rob Collard retired from the race, automatically promoting Jackson into P8 for the second race of the day. Team-mate Aron Smith had a frustrating first race having opted for a cautious set-up to preserve the S2000 Ford’s tyres, and a run in with Neate and Shedden saw him drop to P16.
A more aggressive set up and braver start paid dividends for Smith in race 2 as he cleanly worked his way through the pack to move up into P10 in the opening lap. Jackson also fared well gaining an extra spot to move into 7th place. A mid-race battle with Dave Newsham saw Smith’s Focus trade places with the Vectra numerous times – showing that the Irish Motorsport Driver of the Year – is already capable of holding his own in the BTCC field, finishing in a credible 10th place. Jackson had a relatively quiet race, where despite an intermittent gear issue, the 31 year old managed to close down on Tom Onslow-Cole in the closing seconds of the race to steal 6th place on the final corner.
The final race of the day finished on a high for the Redstone Racing team. Well renowned for his blistering starts, Jackson took the new NGTC up into 3rd place in the opening laps, and for a good while a trip to the podium looked to be on the cards. However, following a couple of hairy sideways slides that the Redstone driver did well to recover from, he lost out but managed an extremely credible 5th place finish; which was later promoted to 4th following the exclusion of Shedden. Smith once again showcased his skills, working his way up through the traffic in the opening laps to secure his highest finishing position of 6thplace to date in the BTCC.
Both Jackson and Smith were delighted with their top seven finishes and to have secured a solid haul of much welcomed points to help keep Motorbase in the battle for the Independents’ title.
Redstone Racing now head back to the workshop to prepare the cars for further development work ahead of Round 7 of the MSA Dunlop British Touring Car Championship at Knockhill on 25th/26th August.