PLATO SPLASHES TO POLE
POSITION AT WET KNOCKHILL
Jason Plato has taken pole position in a wet Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship qualifying session at the Knockhill circuit in Fife.
Plato set a best time of 57.128s in his KX Momentum Racing MG6 to secure pole for the third time this season. Qualifying second fastest was Robert Collard in his eBay Motors BMW while young Irishman Aron Smith was a best-ever third in his Redstone Racing Ford Focus.
But Plato’s two Honda rivals, Worcestershire’s Matt Neal and Scottish ‘home hero’ Gordon Shedden who lay just ahead of him in the title race, could only manage eighth and sixth places.
It means Plato, chasing the third title of his career, has a golden opportunity to make further inroads into their advantage in the first of tomorrow’s three races at least. They will go into it with Neal, the reigning Champion, leading the standings with Shedden in second and Plato third. Just ten points cover them with 20 awarded for a win.
Oxford’s Plato commented: “I had a bit more in reserve if required but the main thing is I’m starting from the front tomorrow and the two Hondas have a lot to do. But we’re looking good in all conditions – I was very happy with the car in the dry in the earlier practice sessions so I’m feeling good about tomorrow.”
Hampshire’s Collard, currently fifth in the table, said: “I gave it everything. Pole would have been very nice but I’m satisfied to be starting on the front row which is important here as it’s a tough circuit to overtake.”
Dubliner Smith, aged just 21, added: “I’ve been chipping away all season and finally I’ve got my first top three and it feels great. I’m looking forward to tomorrow – it’s a chance to see how the more established names do it and hopefully I can go with them.”
Elsewhere ‘returnee’ Paul O’Neill qualified an excellent seventh fastest in his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis. Inverness’s Dave Newsham, a winner for the first time at Snetterton, Norfolk two weeks ago, was tenth on his home track in his Team ES Racing.com Vauxhall Vectra.