News : Plato takes pole at Oulton Park

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Jason Plato on pole for tomorrow's BTCC triple-header at Oulton Park
Jason Plato on pole for tomorrow's BTCC triple-header at Oulton Park

Jason Plato set a qualifying lap record to grab pole position for the first of tomorrow’s three Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races at the Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire. Plato left it right until the end of a highly exciting session to post a best time of 1m26.872s in his KX Momentum Racing MG6 and pip arch rival Matt Neal to pole by just 0.077s. Neal’s time of 1m26.949s in his Honda Yuasa Racing Team Civic was also beneath the old record.

So too were the times set by Robert Collard, third in his eBay Motors BMW and Andrew Jordan, fourth in his Pirtek Racing Honda Civic. Significantly, all these times were set in less than ideal track conditions with a number of damp patches still on the circuit. Furthermore, championship leader Plato’s time was set in a car carrying the maximum 45kgs of success ballast.

The former double Champion from Oxford commented: ‘I put the team under a bit of pressure in that session – I ran wide at Lodge corner on my first run and on my second was off the track and through the puddles at Cascades. It all came down to that final run – Matt had just set a very good time but we thought it still might just be possible so it was all or nothing on that last lap.’

Worcestershire’s Neal, the reigning Champion, added: ‘I was on track at the end and I knew Jason was as well – I was sure he had something up his sleeve and suddenly the team started telling me over the radio he was setting best sector times. I was warming up a new set of tyres for what was going to be my final run but couldn’t get across the line in time to respond.’

Tomorrow’s three BTCC races at Oulton Park will be shown on ITV4, ITV4 HD and www.itv.com in two shows – live from 11.30am-4.00pm and then highlights from 8.00pm-10.00pm.

Leading Qualifying Times, Dunlop BTCC, Oulton Park, Sat 9 June
1. Jason Plato (GBR), MG KX Momentum Racing/MG6, 1m26.872s
2. Matt Neal (GBR), Honda Yuasa Racing Team/Honda Civic, +0.077s
3. Robert Collard (GBR), eBay Motors/BMW 320si, +0.117s
4. Andrew Jordan (GBR), Pirtek Racing/Honda Civic, +0.179s
5. Gordon Shedden (GBR), Honda Yuasa Racing Team/Honda Civic, +0.585s
6. Tom Onslow-Cole (GBR), eBay Motors/BMW 320si, +0.631s
7. Frank Wrathall (GBR), Dynojet/Toyota Avensis, +0.787s
8. Daniel Welch (GBR), Welch Motorsport/Proton Persona, +1.042s
9. Dave Newsham (GBR), ES Racing.com/Vauxhall Vectra, +1.097s
10. Mat Jackson (GBR), Redstone Racing/Ford Focus ST, +1.161s

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

9 Comments

  1. @TRiomatic….. Que? No GM bits under that body, even if there was a Vectra under the skin how does that detract from the achievment?

    There’s no pleasing some people!

  2. I think he’s referring to the underpinnnings of the Team 888 car. My understanding is that the only MG in that touring car is the secondhand bodyshell…

  3. @ Frankie

    Precisely. MG UK don’t have a motorsport division so KX Momentum can only use parts that have been suitably developed for racing.

    As far as the ‘Vectra under the skin’ comment, I think Clive has covered that in some detail elsewhere on here not that long ago

  4. I stand corrected on the chassis then!
    Am I right in thinking though that a lot of race cars sit on running gear that bear little relation to their bodyshell?

  5. I wouldn’t call it ‘Vectra under that bodyshell’, rather the bespoke racing frame that was used by 888 with a Vectra body which now has an MG body. Let’s not talk it down too much !!!

    I’m off now to see if it’s on the TV…

  6. @ keithb

    That pretty much covers it. As Peter Harris says, most racing saloons are bodyshells fitted around a spaceframe construction using proven race-developed parts for suspension and the likes. The engine in the BTCC MG6 is, if I recall, a ‘stock’ engine with a laid out spec that the entrants use.

    When I raced National Hot Rods we could choose from a set list of engines with specifications within set parameters. Most popular were the Ford Kent x-flow 1700cc and Pinto 2 litre. As these engines became less common in road cars, certain otehrs were introduced like Peugeot and Toyota twin cams.

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