Plato Tops Shortened Second Practice

by Dan Mason

Jason Plato topped a competitive second free practice session ahead of qualifying for the fourth British Touring Car Championship round at Oulton Park.

Similar to the first session, a lashing of rain hit the Cheshire circuit in the hour prior to the second 40-minute encounter, drivers taking it easy on their first trip to the sodden track.

Initially over five seconds slower than the best times from first practice, times began to fall as conditions improved throughout the session, with Plato and Alain Menu trading the top spot.

The two former team-mates and fellow double BTCC champions switched fastest times on numerous occasions, before first practice pace-setter Colin Turkington appeared on the scene and grabbed the advantage away.

West Surrey Racing briefly held a sweep of the top three with Rob Collard and Nick Foster both confirming the pace of the BMW 125i in the slippery conditions, before Plato and then Menu hit back to return to the peak of the times.

The second half of the session became a time trial between both drivers with the addition of Turkington, the latter taking the top spot back before Plato stole the session honours with a 1m53.345s effort.

The session was ended prematurely in the final 10 minutes when Jack Clarke suffered an off at Lodge, the Ford Focus nosing underneath the barriers but emerging without significant damage.

Turkington was 0.459s further back from the pace-setting MG of Plato, while Collard, Menu and Sam Tordoff rounded out the top five.

Marc Hynes again impressed in the third MG, Foster next up ahead of points leader Andrew Jordan who finished eighth – the Pirtek Racing Honda Civic carrying the maximum 45kg penalty ballast.

Aron Smith and Gordon Shedden rounded out the top 10, Matt Neal 11th  in the second Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Tourer.

Ollie Jackson was present in a rebuilt Welch Motorsport Proton Gen-2, although he told The Checkered Flag afterwards that throttle problems could force him out of qualifying.

Qualifying is scheduled to take place at 15:20and you can follow all the BTCC and support race action this weekend with

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