Jason Plato commented on the thrilling action of the final meeting of the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, finishing runner-up to Colin Turkington as MG took Manufacturers’ Championship honours.
The double champion dominated qualifying in a weekend scattered with difficult conditions that proved unpredictable, but could not stop Turkington from wrapping up the title despite winning races one and two of the day.
The second was however later taken off him for a collision with the West Surrey Racing driver, although the MG squad’s success made Plato a happy man from the curtain-closer.
“Nail-biting and exciting for all, especially the fans”, said Plato afterwards following a frenetic finale at Brands Hatch, which saw MG wrap up the Manufacturers’ Championship comfortably over Honda Yuasa Racing. by 95 points.
“It’s a fantastic result, I’m dead chuffed, and it’s been a great effort from Triple Eight and MG. Just reward for three years hard work? I think so. As a team, we’ve done a brilliant job. We’ve been the dominant force and, if you take Colin out of the equation, I was fifty points in the lead going into the last weekend.”
“Nail-biting and exciting for all, especially the fans.” – Jason Plato
Plato – insisting that a switch to a rear-wheel drive machine may be his answer for next year – feels that Turkington and BMW were out of reach in 2014, adding: “It’s not always gone to plan. Let’s all come back next year with a level-playing field and see who is where.”
The second encounter of the Sunday afternoon in Kent kept onlookers watching on intently at the scrap over first position, Plato and team-mate Sam Tordoff both among a five-car dice which saw five different leaders in the 17-lapper.
The first was Turkington thanks to a typically-lightning getaway in the BMW 125i, removed unintentionally after contact with Plato at Paddock Hill Bend shortly afterwards before Mat Jackson threw away the lead with a crash entering Westfield bend. Rob Collard held on from the front ahead of Plato for much of the remainder of the race, only for Adam Morgan to work his way to the front before running deep at Dingle Dell and handing Plato initially the win, the man himself praising his rival racers.
“A great race”, Plato told The Checkered Flag on the enthralling race two, which he was demoted to 13th in.
“I thought Adam Morgan drove brilliantly, even though he made a mistake. I thought Collard drove really well; he didn’t give me any opportunity and worked out pretty quickly where the car was good, worked out where he was strong and made it a great fight.”
The second race was however the scene for a collision between the series’ top two drivers of 2014, as Plato tagged Turkington into a spin heading into Paddock Hill Bend during the opening laps following a safety car interruption.
“The simple facts of the matter are: I got a good run on Colin – you can hear from on-board with me that I come out of the throttle by the start/finish line and was looking to see what he did.
“He presented an opportunity down the inside, I committed to it and then he turned in which was a late closing of the door, I then went right on the brakes and hit the pothole on the inside and that unsettled the car which I couldnt check up.
“Had there not been the hole there, I could have stopped the car. It wasn’t a lunge, it was just unlucky; there was no intention from it, it was just a lunge and it didn’t come off.”
On the opposing side of the fence, the newly-crowned champion felt that the move which saw his BMW 125i heading backwards into the gravel was never on.
“I think that he probably knew deep down that the move wasn’t really on”, Turkington told TCF afterwards.“I’d made sure the door was closed early so there wasn’t a gap on the inside. In the end it didn’t matter though.”