Jason Plato feels that Subaru are now “back in the game” after taking their first win of the season in the opening Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race of the day at Oulton Park.
Colin Turkington‘s lights-to-flag victory was the first of the season for Team BMR, but more importantly a historic first in the BTCC for Subaru with their new Levorg, Plato making it a double podium for the team with third place.
Plato was left beaming from the result, feeling the reward of the well-documented project conjured up five years ago by himself and engineer, Carl Faux.
“This has been five years in the thinking and the making,” Plato told The Checkered Flag afterwards. “What an epic journey this has been. We’re back in the game now!
“The car isn’t where we want it just yet but we have made a lot of progress and done a fantastic job. Since free practice two yesterday I knew that we were going to be in a strong position today.
“We have got something really special. The amount of effort that has gone into building these cars was a silly effort, like I have never seen before. It’s not a big team, like a Williams with a big design office or manufacturing department. It is one of the most beautiful pieces of engineering I have seen in a touring car. This is for them.”
Plato’s third place was confirmed on lap 12 after a fierce battle with reigning champion, Gordon Shedden, a fight that the BMR star said got his pulse racing once again after a learning start to 2016 with the new machine.
“There was absolutely no way on earth that Scotsman was going to get the last place on the podium”, said the Subaru man on his battle with long-time rival, Shedden. “It is great to be racing again also because that is why I do this job – it gets me hard and gets my pulse racing!
“It’s the first time I’ve run in traffic and we were a bit aero-deficient, with a bit too much understeer when I was close to cars, but once we got past Gordon it came back to me a bit.”
Plato praised his fellow double champion for his success in race one, adding: “While I’m really chuffed for everyone in the team and really chuffed for Colin, of course I wanted to be the one who won the first race.”
Race two sees Plato carry 57kg of success ballast for race two, but he enthused: “We’ve opened our account and now it is time to add to it. I’m feeling a bit feisty!”