F1Weekly podcast #674

Nasir tries to convince Clark the Australian Grand Prix was an exciting race to behold! We have a special report from long time listener and F1W forum member Jason Bentley and I also want to share some news from the BTCC testing at Donington Park…

Team BMR sets the pace in Season Launch test at Donington Park

Two-time Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Champion Jason Plato laid down the gauntlet to his rivals today (24 March) at the Season Launch official test at Donington Park. The seasoned campaigner set the fastest time during the afternoon running – a 1:10.249s – just pipping his new Team BMR stable-mate and reigning BTCC champion Colin Turkington by 0.006s.

In identical VW CC machinery, the pair look set to lock horns throughout what will undoubtedly be another thrilling campaign, and with times already so close at the top there are sure to be fireworks when racing commences at Brands Hatch in Kent on 4/5 April.

With the top two from last year’s championship setting the pace, it was a very impressive showing from the two Mercedes A-Class machines of Aiden Moffat and Adam Morgan that saw them placed third and fourth in the time sheets for Laser Tools Racing and WIX Racing respectively. Morgan secured his first ever BTCC win at the Brands Hatch finale last October, and as Moffat makes the switch to a new car it looks like an exciting season in prospect for the ambitious young duo.

A team pairing took up station in fifth and sixth, as Triple Eight Racing drivers Jack Goff and Andrew Jordan put in a formidable tally of laps around the Donington Park National Circuit. Indeed the only driver to complete more circulations than Goff was Team BMR owner Warren Scott, who managed to post the eighth fastest time having lapped the 1.98-mile track an impressive 68 times.

Hunter Abbott was seventh fastest in his Exocet AlcoSense Audi A4,  with the returning Honda Civic of Martin Depper in ninth. Sam Tordoff secured top BMW honours in his first timed session for the newly-announced Team JCT600 with GardX squad in tenth, just ahead of Dave Newsham who has switched to a Power Maxed Racing Chevrolet for this year.

Honda Yuasa Racing unveiled the stunning new Civic Type R this morning in front of a huge media gathering, and the car will surely grab headlines as the it hits the track in earnest even before the production car hits the showroom floor. Matt Neal piloted the #25 car to the 12th fastest time.

Attentions now turn to Brands Hatch for the first three BTCC battles of 2015.

Jason Plato said: “We had an issue which cost us about an hour today which is a little frustrating as we had a plan of things we’re trying to get though and it’s left us with a couple of questions on the set-up that aren’t 100 per cent answered. It was a good day though – the guys have had a tough six weeks and I think now it’s time to down tools, get everything ready and checked for Brands Hatch and make sure we don’t have any reliability issues. We’ll be on the pace at Brands – if we’re not quickest we’ll be there or thereabouts and I think we can win races.”

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