The second and final day of the BTCC’s official Dunlop test at Snetterton circuit was again whitewashed by the MG KX Momentum Racing squad, Jason Plato comfortably posting the quickest time of the day and the overall test.
The double champion set the lap record-beating fastest time of the day during Wednseday’s afternoon session, his eventual time of 1m57.248s also beating team-mate Sam Tordoff‘s time from the previous day, Plato topping both the morning and afternoon sessions as he ended the day 0.424s quicker than his team-mate.
He finished over half a second ahead of the second MG6 of rookie sensation Tordoff in the afternoon session alone after the pair moved to the top of the time sheets at mid-distance, the pair signalling over both days – despite the absence from the test of main rivals Honda Yuasa Racing – that the MG squad will be very tough opposition when the series visits the same 300 circuit in Norfolk on August 3/4 for round six of the 2013 championship.
Plato told btcc.net: “We’ve been methodically going through lots of different settings this morning. We used the 2014 compound yesterday, and so far today we’ve been on the regular medium compound. We’re working on balance in race trim and trying some different setups to adjust some of the characteristics about the car.”
Behind them, a star performance was once again displayed by Team HARD‘s Jack Goff, the reigning UK Renault Clio Cup champion’s morning session time proving good enough for third quickest at the end of the day’s combined times, both Goff and the Vauxhall Insignia looking at home around the Snetterton circuit.
Goff also told btcc.net: “Some of the things we’ve tried at this test have made a massive improvement to the way the car feels. The balance is really good now – it’s probably the best the car has ever felt. I did that time at the end on brand new tyres, and it was the first time we’ve run new tyres all test. It’s not quite perfect yet and there’s a bit more time in the bag, so we’ll see how it goes.”
Rob Collard finished fourth thanks to a rapid lap during the morning period in his eBay Motors BMW, while Aron Smith starred in the Motorbase Ford Focus, leaping up to third in the afternoon session as he set 65 laps around Snetterton, eventually ending just seven tenths shy of Plato’s best time as the Kent-based squad found a new lease thanks to the Irishman and his team-mate Mat Jackson, the latter also reaching the top six in the afternoon.
Colin Turkington ended the session a combined sixth behind Smith also thanks to his morning effort, while Andrew Jordan turned a whopping 51 laps during the second session alone in his Eurotech Honda Civic, joined again by father Mike Jordan in the second Pirtek-sponsored Honda after regular Jeff Smith drove the car on the morning, Jordan snr. briefly even heading his son in the afternoon before ending 10th come the day’s conclusion.
Behind Jackson in eighth, Nick Tandy again shone with the Motorbase team, ending ninth overall and just 1.2s off the pace of Plato despite driving the team’s Addidson Lee-backed S2000 Ford Focus in place of regular driver Liam Griffin, fellow Airwaves drivers Smith and Jackson also driving the Jack Sears Trophy car at different short intervals as the team switched their drivers over the days.
Tom Onslow-Cole finished just outside the top 10 in Team HARD’s Volkswagen Passat, while Frank Wrathall and Ollie Jackson were next up as the top 13 were seperated by 1.6s. The test saw Warren Scott and Joe Girling get their maiden runs in HARD’s vacant second Vauxhall Insignia, the duo finishing 20th and 23rd respectively in their first taste of NGTC machinery despite a brief engine issue earlier in the day for the newly-liveried car.
The session also saw Speedworks test Richard Hawken on Wednesday, the BRSCC SuperTouring Car Trophy champion finishing last on the day after being one of three new drivers used at the two-day test for the squad in place of Dave Newsham who was absent from proceedings, Chris Jones and Ian Loggie driving the Toyota Avensis over the previous day.
For full details and results of the test, see: http://www.tsl-timing.com/toca/2013/132841trg.pdf