A “nightmare” time in Scotland for the MG KX Momentum Racing team left both drivers and personnel eager to set the record straight at Rockingham.
Jason Plato had been bullish coming into the Knockhill weekend about taking more points out of Matt Neal‘s Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship lead and pole position in Saturday’s wet qualifying sessions looked set to propel him well on the way to doing just that.
However, the two-time BTCC champion found Sunday much more difficult. Race-ending contact with Aron Smith, the fall-out from which hardly low-key, set the tone for the day and 11th place in race two was the highlight of the title challenger’s day as technical problems caused him to not even start the final race.
Plato is now third in the standings and 36 points behind Neal’s Honda, and said there can be no repeat of his misfortune at the next round: “I was optimistic for today following our Pole yesterday, but being removed from Race One by the Ford set the tone for the day and I guess it’s never a great day when your best result is an 11th!
“The technical issue restricted my progress in Race Two and stopped it all together in Race Three. Rockingham has to go better.”
Set-up problems and technical gremlins blighted his fight through the field in the second race but teammate Andy Neate fared no better. Having also retired in race one, he made the decision to start on wet tyres for race three, but the gamble failed to pay off and a switch to dry tyres meant 15th was all he could achieve.
“It didn’t start well and went downhill from there,” said Neate. “I thought it was worth taking a punt on the strategy in Race Three, having retired from Race One and struggling with the technical issue in two, but not even the weather would help me today!”
Team Principal Ian Harrison said the day had been a disaster, but added the team would pick themselves up and fight back at Rockingham.
“We have had a nightmare day to be honest. After a good qualifying yesterday, it’s gone wrong ever since we got out of bed this morning. The contact from Smith in race one has ruined Jason’s day and it’s put us in a compromised position in the championship now.
“Andy’s day’s not been much better; he was unlucky with a wrong tyre call at the end there. Let’s forget about this weekend now and move on to Rockingham.”