A superb weekend for Jason Plato saw the Team BMR driver move into a 16-point Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship lead after Snetterton, the double champion welcoming an inter-team fight for the title.
Consistency was the byword for Plato exiting the meeting from Snetterton as the summer break finally concluded, netting results no worse than fourth and a brace of podium visits to open up a 16-point lead over team-mate Colin Turkington, while rivals Honda Yuasa Racing endured a Norfolk nightmare.
Qualifying third despite carrying 66kg of success ballast, the Volkswagen driver was happy with his personal performances at the 300 circuit, third in a 1-2-3 result for BMR in race one before fighting up to fourth and then second place in the remaining encounters.
“I’m really pleased,” said Plato to media including TCF afterwards. “In engineering terms that’s a delta of 26 points; we were 10 behind and we’re now 16 ahead – that’s a great weekend.
“Honda have imploded…that’s a shame isn’t it? Colin got himself up to second in the championship, we got the team’s award so it’s going very well.”
Heading to a Knockhill circuit Plato last won at back in his 2010 championship-winning year, the BMR man expects BMW and West Surrey Racing to be the strongest package.
He added: “The BMWs are going to win, they’re going to win all three races. If they don’t, they’ve underperformed [because] it’s a BMW circuit. We’ve just got to make sure we’re the best of the rest and I think we can achieve that.
The most important thing is we know we’re probably not going to win all the races, but that doesn’t mean to say we’re not going to come third or fourth, as long as we’re ahead of the rest that’s all that matters. Without a doubt we’ve learnt some things, but also when you have a great weekend you do feel comfy,” Plato said, also declaring the summer break as a healthy interloper.
“I’ve always found that in my career the summer break is a healthy thing because it allows you to just switch off, do some other stuff and come back refreshed and often you find another gear. If I think about my performance yesterday with the weight, that’s been true for me.”
Plato and team-mate Turkington now find themselves in the top two spots of the championship table, but the mightily experienced Plato admits that the reigning champion will provide him with a great title battle.
“Colin’s going to be a good fight to the end”, said the points leader, graciously adding: “All this talk about rear-wheel-drive ‘taking me a long time to adjust’ – he was just putting a marker down with that to buy himself some time. He’s a world class driver, he’s a class act.
“Looking at this weekend – weight corrected – I was quickest, quicker than Colin, and there’s no reason that won’t continue at Knockhill.”
Championship Standings After Round 6/10:
|1.||Jason Plato||Team BMR (Volkswagen)||230||4|
|2.||Colin Turkington||Team BMR (Volkswagen)||216||3|
|3.||Gordon Shedden||Honda Yuasa Racing (Honda)||198||2|
|4.||Sam Tordoff||West Surrey Racing (BMW)||191||2|
|5.||Andrew Jordan||Triple Eight (MG)||189||-|
|6.||Matt Neal||Honda Yuasa Racing (Honda)||188||2|
|7.||Andy Priaulx||West Surrey Racing (BMW)||168||1|
|8.||Jack Goff||Triple Eight (MG)||162||1|
|9.||Adam Morgan||Ciceley Racing (Mercedes)||157||1|
|10.||Rob Collard||West Surrey Racing (BMW)||133||2|