Jason Plato was left with mixed emotions despite securing his first pole position of the 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season at Knockhill.
The double BTCC champion came out on top in a frenetic qualifying session, held in drying conditions at the Fife circuit, pipping team-mate Ashley Sutton to pole position.
Plato’s pole is the 50th of his BTCC career, but the circumstances in which it happened left the Team BMR driver feeling disappointed in the performance of his own car.
“Of course I’m pleased to be on pole, but the reason to smile today comes from the fact that the weather dealt us a tricky circuit,” he said.
“Had it been dry, we’d have been eighth or ninth as I wouldn’t have had the grip in the car so I’m still p***ed off about that. I can’t be happy with a situation where I’m not competitive under normal circumstances, and even in qualifying, with the weight I was carrying compared to Ash, I should have been further up the road.
“Unless we can sort the understeer in the car, and we haven’t been able to do it all season, then it’s going to be a struggle tomorrow. Obviously it’s better to be at the front, but I don’t want to get in the way of Ash as I want him to win the championship, and there are probably conversations to be had. I’m happy to have those conversations because we are all here to race for the team, and for Subaru and our sponsors, but I want to be competitive and I’m not.
“I know that probably sounds stupid when I’m sat on pole position but this has just been one of those years; it’s probably been the hardest since I started racing.
“It’s better to be at the front than mid-pack. But unless we can sort the understeer out, and we haven’t sorted it this year, it’s going to be a tough race.”
Plato enters Sunday lying 15th in the Drivers’ Championship with nine races still to run, and admitted that he would be happy to help team-mate Sutton’s fight for the title in Scotland.
“The last thing I want to do is get in the way of Ash,” Plato continued.
“There’s probably going to be some quite tricky team choices and serious conversations that will happen tomorrow, which I’m happy to have. My job is to help him win the championship. I can’t win it so my job is to help him win – end of.”