Jason Plato hailed a remarkable race one repair job by Team BMR as potentially “vital” to his Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship title challenge, after claiming a fifth win of the season in race three at Rockingham.
After a damage-related finish of 27th in the opening race, Plato recovered to seventh in the second encounter of Sunday in Corby, before emerging victorious in a fine dice with the Toyota of Tom Ingram in the final race of the day.
The recovery meant that Plato now sits six points behind championship leader Gordon Shedden, the Honda man having also claimed a win earlier in the day during race two.
Speaking to The Checkered Flag afterwards, Plato said: “It’s what motor racing is like – staying out of the way of everybody and you get clouted out, it’s just what happens.
“It was a bit frustrating because we had the pace in races two and three, so that would have been a very different weekend. Hats off to Gordon and Team Dynamics because he’s driving a brilliant car and executed what he needs to do. We’re still in the fight though.”
The coming rounds at Silverstone and Brands Hatch GP are set to be the real star circuits for Team BMR and Plato in particular, the Volkswagen driver having dominated at both in recent BTCC seasons.
“Out of the three events, this was going to be the one that Honda would be better than us. I think at Silverstone we’ll have the quicker package. Then we get to Brands Hatch GP – we will be on the button there. It’s a circuit I’m totally in tune with.”
The real vital factor of the team’s weekend was a great escape in race one, Plato involved in contact that appeared to have terminally damaged the rear suspension of the Volkswagen CC. The car crabbed back to the pits, before a miraculous repair job within two laps meant that Plato could recover his weekend towards claiming a similarly crucial victory.
“The story today is of my mechanics”, he added. “They turned the car around in one-and-a-half laps and to get it back in the race was very special.
“The biggest thing was that we had a cold tyre on it afterwards so I had to be careful and do it in lap one. The boys will look back at what they achieved in race one and it could be crucial.”