Jackson takes his first win of the year in Donington opener

Mat Jackson took his first win of the season in race one at Donington Park, after muscling his way past Jason Plato to the lead of the race which he would never lose.

Despite spinning going to the grid, the Redstone Ford driver jumped up to third place from sixth on the grid behind polesitter Jason Plato, but both were stunned by an astonishing start from the rear-wheel drive BMW of Rob Collard who motored into the lead from row three.

Plato began to close on Collard quickly, and on lap five of 16 the decisive moment took place as Plato sneaked inside the BMW coming out of Coppice, and as Jackson tried to follow him through at the chicane the Ford driver braked too late nudged Plato’s MG wide, taking the lead of the race.

The nudge dropped Plato to fourth behind the Hondas of Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal, and soon the double champion was all over the back of reigning champion Neal for third, Shedden making a break from the pair.

The two leaders edged away from the ballast-laden cars of Neal and Plato, and Jackson had the pace to manage the gap to the Honda pair and claim his first win of 2012,by a margin of just 0.229s after a last lap charge by the Scot.

“Brands was obviously frustrating,” said Jackson. “We came here yesterday and we knew we had a quick car. Good start, let’s see what we’ve got for race two.

“Jason’s a bit quicker out the corners and I went up the inside, and unfortunately the back end just stepped away. From there it was just qualifying laps.”

Shedden said: “The Civic’s going really, really well, but that Ford was quick in a straight line. It’s good points on the board.”

Neal held onto third as Plato’s charge began to cease somewhat, while Tom Onslow-Cole made his way up to fifth place after a great start in another WSR BMW.

Onslow-Cole found himself under pressure from Andrew Jordan throughout the latter stages of the race, Jordan having made a slow start and dropped to eighth place from fourth before making a great move around the outside of Dave Newsham’s Vauxhall Vectra through the ultra-fast Craner Curves for sixth.

Behind Newsham, improving rookie Aron Smith finished eighth for Redstone Ford ahead of Frank Wrathall, the Toyota driver claiming ninth from the struggling Collard who slipped further down the order to 10th place ahead of team-mate Nick Foster.

Rob Austin’s bad luck continued meanwhile after his spark plug issue in qualifying, the Audi driver retiring with a terminal mechanical problem that is set to keep him out for the rest of the day.

He wasn’t the only one however as following an engine change on Saturday night, Ollie Jackson was forced to withdraw from the event with further problems on his AMD Milltek Volkswagen Golf.

Race one results:

1.  Mat Jackson      Motorbase Ford     19m11.104s
2.  Gordon Shedden   Honda                + 0.229s
3.  Matt Neal        Honda                + 5.600s
4.  Jason Plato      MG                   + 5.832s
5.  Tom Onslow-Cole  WSR BMW              + 8.656s
6.  Andrew Jordan    Eurotech Honda       + 8.768s
7.  Dave Newsham     ES Vauxhall         + 11.750s
8.  Aron Smith       Motorbase Ford      + 14.484s
9.  Frank Wrathall   Dynojet Toyota      + 20.384s
10.  Rob Collard      WSR BMW             + 24.109s
11.  Nick Foster      WSR BMW             + 36.021s
12.  Daniel Welch     Welch Proton        + 40.216s
13.  Jeff Smith       Eurotech Honda      + 45.844s
14.  Tony Gilham      Gilham Honda        + 46.081s
15.  Adam Morgan      Speedworks Toyota   + 46.780s
16.  Andy Neate       MG                  + 58.982s
17.  Chris James      ES Vauxhall       + 1m11.552s
DNF     Ollie Jackson    AmD Volkswagen        11 laps
DNF     Rob Austin       Austin Audi            6 laps
DNF     Tony Hughes      Speedworks Toyota      2 laps
DNF     Liam Griffin     Motorbase Ford          1 lap
DNF     Lea Wood         Wood Vauxhall           1 lap


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