When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
MOTORSPORT: Plato in test to boost chances
10:10am Saturday 29th September 2012 in Sport
Title hopeful Jason Plato says he’s improved his MG’s wet weather pace in an important test at Brands Hatch.
The Oxford driver dominated the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship’s dry first race in his MG KX Momentum Racing MG6 at Rockingham, near Corby, on Sunday to eat into Honda pair Matt Neal’s and Gordon Shedden’s lead at the top of the table.
Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan and Honda Yuasa Racing Team star Shedden were second and third in their Honda Civics.
But by the end of the day, Shedden and Neal had opened up the gap again, finishing first and second respectively in the next two races held on a soaking track.
Plato, who finished behind them in third both times, now has six races left – three at Silverstone next weekend and three more on the Brands Grand Prix circuit on October 21) – to make up a 32-point deficit with a possible 134 still to be had.
But after Tuesday’s test when he was joined by team-mate Andy Neate, Plato seems confident that he can take the challenge to his Honda rivals whatever the weather in the closing two rounds.
He said: “If you look back at Thruxton in April, Honda were much more sorted than us in the wet because they knew their car better and it was the same at Rockingham last weekend.
“They were in a different league in that second race, but we took some steps forward in the third race and were quite a bit closer.
“Today’s test was all about continuing that development path and learning some more about the car’s behaviour in those conditions which we have done. “We’ve definitely made progress with our wet set-ups and it’s been a good test.”
Standings (top ten): 1 G Shedden 336pts, 2 M Neal 333, 3 J Plato 304, 4 A Jordan 287, 5 R Collard 247, 6 T Onslow-Cole 228, 7 M Jackson 223, 8 D Newsham 151, 9 F Wrathall 138, 10 N Foster 128.