Wrathall

BTCC


WRATHALL PIPS PLATO FOR CAREER FIRST
BTCC POLE POSITION AT SNETTERTON…
 
Frank Wrathall has spectacularly taken the first pole position of his Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship career at the Snetterton circuit in Norfolk.
 
The 25-year-old from Preston achieved pole in a time of 1m57.595s in his Dynojet Toyota Avensis to pip former double Champion, Oxford’s Jason Plato in his MG KX Momentum Racing MG6 by just 0.015s.
 
Wrathall’s pole is the first for a Toyota driver in the BTCC since 1993 and also a qualifying record for the championship around the Snetterton track.
 
Inverness’s Dave Newsham was also close to pole, just 0.054s away from Wrathall in third in his Team ES Racing.com Vauxhall Vectra.
 
An elated Wrathall said: “That was very close as Jason and I were trading fastest times but in the end I came out on top. I’d come back into the pit lane and knew he was out there giving it one final go, but it seems he made a mistake and went off the track – when the team told me I was shouting a lot in the car! To beat a driver of his stature makes it all the more rewarding and I’m delighted.”
 
Plato replied: “Congratulations to Frank – it’s always nice to see a young driver doing well, even if it is at my expense! The important thing is I’m ahead of the two drivers I’m chasing for the title and from here can start thinking about taking points back off them.”
 
And added Newsham: “Finally the Vectra feels like it did back at the start of the season when I had three really strong opening events. From what we’ve seen in the earlier practice sessions our tyre wear rate is also excellent so I’m hoping for three very strong races tomorrow.”
 
There were career-best qualifying results, too, for Preston’s Adam Morgan and Fleet’s Daniel Welch – a fine fifth and sixth fastest in their Speedworks Motorsport Toyota and Welch Motorsport Proton respectively.
 
But there were major frustrations for the two championship leaders, Honda Yuasa Racing Team team-mates Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden. Worcestershire’s Neal was a lowly seventh by his standards and Fife’s Shedden 22nd and last after on-going problems with his Civic – which had suffered a major fire in practice this morning – prevented him from setting a time.
 
Elsewhere Warwickshire’s Mat Jackson, another of the championship’s top names, qualified the Redstone Racing team’s all-new Ford Focus ST an encouraging 16th fastest on its debut. The Focus, only completed at 7.00am, becomes the seventh different make of car to be built to the BTCC’s new and much-applauded NGTC regulations…