Donington Park pole-sitter Jason Plato felt he could have could have gone even faster than his lap record-lowering effort in qualifying for the second British Touring Car Championship meeting this weekend, in a strong showing for the works MG squad.
The MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save BTCC Team driver set a time of 1m09.460s to demolish the previous qualifying lap record at Donington Park’s National circuit, beating Gordon Shedden‘s Yuasa Racing Honda Civic by 0.131s by the conclusion of the 30-minute session.
The session proved to be a one for MG to beam about, with Plato’s pole position backed up by third spot for team-mate Sam Tordoff and 10th place for the Quantel Bifold Racing Triple Eight machine of Marc Hynes, who ended just over half a second from the top spot.
Speaking after his effort, Plato ominously said he could have gone even faster, commenting: “It was a good lap and I’m really pleased with that. It wasn’t perfect as I made a little mistake, but we only lost half a tenth.
“The second half of the session was good, but I didn’t really get a lap together, there was a lot of dust from people going off. Qualifying is so crucial now with the amount of cars on the grid, you’ve got to be at the sharp-end.”
The double BTCC champion praised the performance of the MG6 GT, and admitted that his initial penalty ballast advantage for entering the round fifth in the championship gives him yet more reason to be confident for Sunday.
“We’ve got a good balance on the car now, it’s much nicer to drive. It’s less snappy and more user friendly. The grip is great, it’s very stretchy and less on a knife-edge.
“We’ll take it as it comes tomorrow – Turkington is fourth in the quick starting BMW, but I won’t be letting him down the inside of me. He’ll have to go the long way round if he wants to get by and he’ll be a brave man to try that. You need to get a good result in race one and race two, and then let’s see what we can do in race three; that’s got to be the mental attitude I think.
“One of the plus sides of our little issue at Brands Hatch is that we’re not carrying any weight here so I’m really happy with that.”