Plato And MG Dominate Qualifying, Neal Crashes Heavily


The MG KX Momentum Racing squad notched up their fifth front row lock-out in 10 meetings from 2013, Jason Plato beating Sam Tordoff to the season’s final pole position at Brands Hatch’s GP circuit.

The 30-minute qualifying session was dominated in the end by the MG6 pairing, moving to the top of the times during the first 15 minutes before the session was red flagged after a big accident for Matt Neal at Paddock Hill Bend.

Lying second in the championship, 34 points behind Jordan, the Yuasa-backed Honda ran wide exiting the downhill right-hander and spun across the road, connecting head-on with the inside tyre barrier very hard and dismantling the front corner of his Civic.

When the Honda – minus its front-right corner – was extracted from the track, Neal thankfully unharmed, the second half of the session resumed with MG looking to assert their dominance of the session.

They did just that as the pair staged a battle to the flag between themselves, Plato breaking Tom Chilton‘s lap record from 2010 to eventually seal his fourth pole position of the season, the most of any driver in 2013.

His effort of 1m31.225s left him just 0.036s quicker than his team-mate Tordoff at the flag, while third place was a very handy result for Andrew Jordan as he leads off row three ahead of Gordon Shedden.

“We have the quickest package in the dry and I think we’ve had that for a long time, so it’s a good time”, said Plato, who lies 49 points behind Jordan with a shot at clinching the title still. “We’ve just got to see what happens tomorrow now.”

Shedden will hope Jordan runs into trouble tomorrow in his bid to trim the 35-point lead of his Eurotech Honda rival, while Adam Morgan rounded out the top five on a good Saturday for the Ciceley Racing driver.

Colin Turkington survived an off at Sheene – one of many to do so – on his way to sixth place for eBay Motors, Tom Onslow-Cole seventh and the lead Airwaves Racing Ford Focus.

Rob Collard had two separate offs at Sheene but still managed to fork out ninth spot behind Frank Wrathall (who also spun at Surtees), the top 10 rounded out by Rob Austin Racing debutant Jake Hill.

Dave Newsham lay just outside the top 10 after a spin avoiding Collard’s second off, while Neal will only start 16th after his crash, the title now a distant prospect.

Lea Wood again took the S2000 class pole, Aiden Moffat and Dan Welch separating the Vauxhall driver from nearest rival Liam Griffin.