Jackson seals commanding Race 3 win
17 April 2011 – Mat Jackson avoided the first lap chaos to win the third and final race at Donington Park on Sunday, as the Airwaves Racing driver took an early lead before taking the chequered flag over two seconds ahead of Andrew Jordan. James Nash earned his second visit to the podium for Triple Eight Engineering, and now moves into the championship lead with a total of 59 points.
Drama unfolded as soon as the race began when Dave Newsham span off the line, before sliding into the path of Tony Hughes’ Speedworks Motorsport machine. Pole-sitter Alex MacDowall was able to lead out of the first corner with relative ease, as the cars behind bunched up and made contact while fighting for position.
Contact between James Nash and Rob Collard marked the start of carnage just after the Craner Curves, as Nash went on to nudge Tom Chilton into AmD Miltek Racing driver Tom Onslow-Cole. The Triple Eight Engineering driver continued, but Chilton and Onslow-Cole were forced to retire after making heavy contact at the Old Hairpin.
Mat Jackson benefited massively from the first lap incidents, and found himself in second behind the Chevrolet Cruze of MacDowall. He closed in over the next few tours, and made a clean move for the lead on Lap 5 of the race. Jackson went on to cement his advantage at the front, while battle ensued further down the order.
Eurotech Racing’s Andrew Jordan - who was fresh from celebrating his first victory of 2011 in Race 2 – put pressure on MacDowall for the second podium spot, and made his way through into McLean’s on Lap 10. Meanwhile, Matt Neal and Jeff Smith were involved in a fierce battle for fifth, although it was the latter who edged ahead during the closing stages of the race.
On Lap 13, Nash was able to find his way past MacDowall who was falling back through the field, moving into the final place on the rostrum. Tony Gilham was the next man to pass Neal with only a handful of laps to go, as the Honda Racing driver slipped to eighth. However, Gilham was then involved in a last lap incident with Andy Neate, as he tapped the Team Aon car around at Starkey’s Bridge.
The pair failed to make the chequered flag, promoting Smith to fifth place behind MacDowall. Jason Plato was next up in fifth after a superb repair effort from his Silverline Chevrolet mechanics, although a difficult weekend now leaves him as the hunter and not the hunted in terms of the championship standings. Arch rival Neal was seventh ahead of Paul O’Neill, while Liam Griffin and Nick Foster secured points in a race that featured only 13 finishers.
Round 3 of the championship will be staged at Thruxton in a fortnight's time