Knockhill BTCC: Driver quotes 24 | 08 | 2014

    NOW THAT THE dust has settled on the stunning day's British Touring Car Championship action at Knockhill, we can bring you the views of all the leading drivers following today's action-packed triple-header (Read full report of today's BTCC action at Knockhill).



    Matt Neal: Never forget how great it feels to be a race winner. The car was great. Obviously we were on the soft-compound tyres, and I struggled to get them in the first five or six laps, and then the car jest came on-song and it was a really good balance. But then I was waiting for them to drop off the edge of the cliff at the end, but they didn't, thankfully.

    Rob Austin was on the same tyre as me, and I knew he'd push hard to the end. I didn't want to let him get too close to me to have a go. I'm just sorry I wasn't able to help 'Flash' a bit more. But a good strong double-podium for the team.

    After the Safety Car, I had no thought of backing Rob into Gordon: I only had eyes for the win. It's been too long since I was on the top step of the podium.

    Rob Austin: I thought I had a really good start, then just got knocked around a lot. After the Safety car, it really wasn't worth risking trying to go for the win: I looked a couple of times at the turn-in to the Hairpin, but Matt would just have turned in on me, so it wasn't worth risking a DNF.

    Hopefully I can get better start in Race 2. I want to win one here today: that's what I'm here for.

    Gordon Shedden: Bit of Scottish fan power there. I think that was the most eventful podium I've ever had in my life. Lot's going on and, to be honest, I think I was lucky to make it to the end. But it's a podium: it's good points, and obviously with Colin not finishing, that's bad for him but good for me in terms of points.

    I had no answer in terms of catching Rob and Matt in that one, but we'll go away and see what tweaks we can make to the car for race 2.

    The battle with Any (Jordan) was interesting. I did the switchback at the first corner which I've done plenty times before and he came off the kerb at the left-hander at the foot of Duffus Dip and kind of left me with nowhere to go on the marbles, and that kind of spun my car round. I was up the inside going into McIntyres, but just that little bit of contact on the marbles and that was enough to spin me out.

    I thought that was my race over: backwards, as speed into the Gravel is never good. Somehow it started in first gear: great to finish on the podium, and eventful to say the least.

    Colin's got good pace, so I'm sure he'll come through in the next two races. I've just got to keep my head down, keep finishing, scoring the points and see what happens.

    Colin Turkington: It was never going to be easy. The pace was good in the car, but the biggest difficulty I had was getting past Jason (Plato). He was rightly making his car as big as possible and the Hairpin here is the one real big place you have a chance to pass, and he was covering that well.

    It was frustrating sitting there with pace but unable to make progress. And in the end I got caught up in the melee. I got a hit on the right-rear which speared me off at Turn 3, so that was game over. It takes so little with these cars and you can't recover. If I could have got it round Turn 3 I'd have been away, but when you're in the pack and it's bumper-to-bumper it only takes one touch and you're a goner.


    RACE 2:

    Mat Jackson: Awesome, it's been a long time coming. We've ben struggling and this weekend the car has been fantastic. We ran the soft tyre, which was working really well and I knew if we took too much out of them, and there was a safety car, we'd be knackered. But we managed to hold that gap, and cruised it home.

    It means a massive amount to the team. We've been through some tough times and we've come out the other side.

    Jason Plato: We've improved our car from race 1: we have more of a neutral balance to it. It was more drivable. The soft tyre, as we've seen on Mat Jackson's car, is that it's working really well here. Hopefully we'll enjoy that level of additional performance when we put the soft compound tyres on for the final race. Clearly today, the softs have been the quicker tyre to have on. I'm pleased with that. Knockhill traditionally isn't a good circuit for us.

    Rob Austin: Another win which got away from us, but I'm pleased to have finished on he podium again. Had a great start, got a good run round the outside of Matt (Neal), then got a whack, went across the grass and picked up (Gordon) Shedden. It was carnage through those first few corners. But another podium, so I'm not complaining. The car has been mega this weekend. It's so difficult to overtake here.

    Colin Turkington (started 27th, finished 4th): That's the stuff of dreams. It's hard to do that now in the series at any track with the car's being so evenly matched, but especially tough at Knockhill where it's so difficult to overtake. The team boss said if you take a car a lap, you'll finish 3rd, so unfortunately I finished one short of that. But the car was fantastic, like a knife through butter.

    Strange how fate works. Race 1 all the good fortune goes with Gordon after I retire, then in the next race I benefit through him being knocked into a spin and rejoining in last place. That's the beauty of this championship, you can never afford to give up. After Race 1 it looked like it was going to be a really tough weekend for me, but one moment can change the whole weekend and it's flipped back in my favour.

    Gordon Shedden: Race was completely ruined on the first lap within three corners of the start. I need to see the repays, but as far as I'm concerned Austin left the track, came back on and then committed a professional foul in football terms and just spun me round off the track. Whatever: we'll let the championship organisers look at it.

    I know he had a bit of a strop on him after the first race, and this feels a lot like retaliation.

    What's done is done, but the impact in terms of my championship bid is obviously significant. That was an opportunity for me to win that race, but it's an opportunity gone. But this season will go up and down towards the end, but yeh, to be take out the the race in that way is tough to bear, but it's done now. And I've got a memory like an elephant.

    Now I've it all to do again in Race 3. It seems to be that's what my luck's like when I come back to Knoclkhill with the BTCC guys. The positives are, I've got the soft compound tyres in race 3; I get rid of all the ballast, and I really don't care anymore.


    RACE 3:

    Rob Collard: I know I probably shouldn't have done the donut on the start-finish straight, but there are times when we need to remember we're meant to be putting on a show for the spectators. I wanted to do it when I won last time here in 2012, and I didn't, so this makes up for it.

    It's really special to get back on to the top step of the podium, after a winless 2013. We've shown lots of promise this season — Colin's (Turkington) winning, and Nick (Foster) is delivering — and as a team we're unstoppable at the moment. It's such a pleasure to drive for Dick Bennett, the team boss: he's the only guy I think is more passionate about BTCC than me.

    It's a first in BTCC that all three races today were won on the soft-compound tyre. For me it was all down to making a cracking start, got in between a couple of cars, got my head down and went for it. I like the soft tyre: the car comes alive on it, so I'm really pleased.

    All the BMWs are equal: Colin drove a stonking race: I kept looking in my mirrors expecting to see him.

    Dave Newsham (pictured in action): I definitely wasn't going to make it easy for anyone to pass me, that's for sure. It's all down to the team: they've done a superb job over the year. The car has been absolutely superb: it's just taken us a little bit of time to get it all gelled together, but it's coming.

    We needed the test we had at Snetterton to try a few things and just get me completely comfortable and settled with the car, and the car was great today.

    At the start of every meeting I've said 'right, the season starts here', but that's definitely been the case today. Boy we needed that!

    Knockhill has always been a special place for me: I've had plenty of wins here, including in BTCC. I know the place.

    But this win is for my mum: my mum, Dot, died on Thursday and it's just knocked me for six. But I think she was there, pushing me, pushing the car along. It's for her this one.

    Colin Turkington: Dave was driving really well, and no matter how much pressure I put him under, he never buckled, so hats off to him: I know he's had a tough few days.

    His car was genuinely fast in that race and there was only so much I was prepared to risk, but I'm really pleased with my day. It started on a sour note, but we recovered well, so we leave Knockhill reasonably happy tonight.

    My team-mate Nick (Foster) was really fast and it's every man for himself at this stage, and I think that's pretty clear. Though I was trying to get passed dave, Nick was right on my bumper, but it's been a great day for the eBay team, for Rob to get a win and Nick to be up at the front too. We'll have a whisky tonight, I think.

    Did I expect Nick to put me under so much pressure? You never know: when someone has a car that's very racy, there're not going to make it easy for you. The hardest thing to do is to drive slow, especially in this series, so if I'd been in his position I probably would have done the same thing. It was a good race.

    To be leaving here still with a 23-point lead over Gordon (Shedden), considering how I finished Race 1, is fantastic. The weekend really could have gone either way. But to leave with the same gap I had coming in, and another race chalked off, I can be reasonably happy with that.

    Gordon Shedden: Finishing sixth in Race 3 was, essentially a salvage job really. It was always going to be difficult: it's so tight to get around cars. I had good pace in the car, but just nowhere to use it. I felt I was just getting pinball here, there and everywhere. It was quite lively.

    I was actually quite lucky to get to the end. I was almost off at the Hairpin: I got a massive whack from somebody on the way in and I was sideways into the back of Jordan. I think I hit him with the left-front corner of the car, so again lucky to get to the end, I think.

    I had Andy (Jordan) ahead of me all race, and it always seemed to be one step forward, one sep back. The doors really didn't quite open for me in that one: no matter what i tried, it didn't quite come together. You get them like that sometimes.

    From a neutral's point of view, all three races were terrific: lots of overtaking and high-speed action, touring cars back at their best. Personally I'm disappointed I haven't had a better day, but there's nothing I can do about that.

    From a Knockhill and Scottish perspective, it's been a great day with the sun shining and brilliant views. It's good to see so many people here supporting BTCC: it just shows how popular it is, and when you see action like today, it's no wonder.

    Off to Rockingham next time. We didn't expect the car to go quite as well as it actually did round here, so we've got to look on the positives. Ok, the results haven't been everything we would ideally have wanted, but I think the pace and the performance has been good. We just need to keep our heads down, got to try and nail the set-up, and do the best we can now to the end of the season.

    Related: Thrilling BTCC qualifying at Knockhill

    Related: Gordon Shedden fired-up for BTCC homecoming

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    Jim McGill


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