Jason Plato was left out of luck in the BTCC’s latest trio of races at Snetterton’s 300 circuit, coming away from rounds 16, 17 and 18 of the 2013 championship further adrift of the championship lead after a big accident ended his weekend in spectacular fashion.
The MG KX Momentum Racing driver entered the round looking to eat into the 36-point deficit with which he trailed in the championship following the team’s dominance of both the July Dunlop test and Saturday’s practice and qualifying sessions, however luck did not go the way of the double champion when race day came around.
Plato lined up second on the grid in an MG lock-out behind team-mate Sam Tordoff, before playing second fiddle in race one as he followed his rookie counterpart home for a comfortable second place finish as the KX squad sealed a second 1-2 result of the season, Tordoff claiming a maiden BTCC win.
A great start in race two put Plato at the front of the field and on course for a fifth win of the year, but he was robbed of that opportunity when his MG6 suffered a fuel pump issue that slowed him to a crawl, meaning he failed to finish and started at the back of the grid for the final race of the day.
That encounter ended with the dramatic image of Plato’s MG spearing off the road in the bunching heading through Hamilton bend on the opening tour of the race, slamming into the barriers and bouncing into a barrell roll before landing on its wheels. Plato emerged from the car feeling sore, but ultimately unscathed, however the shunt comprehensively ended a forgetable weekend that the Triple Eight man had entered with such high hopes for.
“We came here expecting big results, and ended up with lady luck dealing us a very poor hand”, reflected Plato. “I am annoyed with the failure in race two because it was a part mandated by the championship that broke – it’s nothing to do with the team or anything we can control.
“The crash in race three was one of those things, I was trying to avoid a crash and that caused me to go off the road. It looked dramatic and I will be a bit sore for the next few days but I am ok.
Plato’s misfortune at Snetterton now leaves his championship prospects hanging by a thread with the season rapidly running out of events, the MG man lying 50 points behind Matt Neal with four rounds remaining but assuring he will continue to fight on for the title.
He concluded by saying: “It is going to make things a big uphill battle in terms of the championship now, but I am not going to stop fighting. Motor racing isn’t meant to be easy.”
Triple Eight boss Ian Harrison took away the positives from the weekend, saying: “In race one, we did what we should be doing. That was an indication of our potential but races two and three fell apart. You can’t help but feel that we were very unlucky with the incidents that happened but the shining light was Sam’s first win and another one-two. All we need to do now is to make that a more consistent performance.”