Tag Archives: Jason Plato

BTCC

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Jason Plato on fire at Oulton Park!…

MG’s Jason Plato scores double victory before Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan wins reversed grid race three- 
MG KX Momentum racer Jason Plato scored a flawless double BTCC victory at Oulton Park today (9 June) before a dramatic fire put him out of the final contest, handing his Honda Yuasa Racing rival Matt Neal the championship lead.

 
Two-time champion Plato is no stranger to winning at the Cheshire venue, having taken seven victories at the circuit prior to this weekend, and he duly added to his impressive tally.
 
He was in dominant form throughout the event – claiming pole position before securing two lights-to-flag wins in commanding fashion. But for the agony of race three, the Oxfordshire driver was still pleased with his weekend’s work, “I’ve been on fire – literally,” he said in reference to both his fine form and later misfortune!
 
Plato’s young team-mate Sam Tordoff starred in race one by claiming second – the best result in his short BTCC career so far and the first ever one-two for MG KX Momentum Racing.
 
Reigning champion Gordon Shedden took third in the opener before going one better in race two in his Honda Civic, whilst 2009 champion Colin Turkington claimed third in his eBay Motors BMW 125i M Sport.
 
The chaotic final encounter was won by Andrew Jordan in his Pirtek Racing Honda Civic after his team-mate Jeff Smith spun away the lead with just three laps remaining. Turkington scored another podium, rounding out an extremely encouraging weekend for the eBay Motors driver.
 
The impressive Adam Morgan took his first ever Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship podium in the final race, which was just reward for the Ciceley Racing driver and continues his fantastic form so far in 2013.
 
Matt Neal finished just 0.078s off the rostrum after hounding down Morgan in the closing stages but his race results of sixth and two fourth places were enough for him to leave Oulton Park with the championship lead. Such is the competitiveness of the 2013 BTCC season that Neal, Jordan and Plato are separated by just seven points at the top of the standings.
 
Other notable results belonged to the Rob Austin Racing-run Audis of Rob Austin and Will Bratt – the duo finished fifth and sixth respectively in race three.
 
Lea Wood looked set to claim a first ever treble in the Jack Sears Trophy but after taking two wins he was forced into retirement in the final contest, which handed Liam Griffin’s Ford Focus his fourth win of the season. Wood heads the S2000 order with five victories.
 
Further to Neal’s lead in the overall Drivers’ standings, Honda lead the Manufacturers’ Championship and Honda Yuasa Racing also top the Teams’ Championship. Andrew Jordan and his Pirtek Racing squad hold the advantage in the Independents’ Drivers’ and Teams’ standings respectively.
 
Rounds 13, 14 and 15 of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship take place at Croft on the 22/23 June.
 
Jason Plato said: “I’ve been on fire – literally! It has been a fantastic weekend. What happened in the final race was just one of those things. The most important thing for me is that we’ve got the performance and we’ve sent a shockwave down the pit lane. There’s a long way to go but we’ve put on a pretty dominant display here, which bodes well for Croft and beyond.”
 
Andrew Jordan said: “If you’d asked me how my day was going after race two I’d have been a lot less happy than I am now. To pull that result off has made my weekend – you can never be sure what’s going to happen in race three and it was only once I got up into fourth that I thought I could actually win it. It’s a shame that we couldn’t get a one-two for the team – there were no team orders, Jeff (Smith) just lost the rear going into the chicane and didn’t quite manage to save it. Consistency is key for me this year and while I didn’t get great results in the first two races, we scored big in the last one while Shedden and Plato didn’t finish, so that makes it an even better result.”
 
Colin Turkington said: “That’s the first podium (race two) that we’ve had on raw pace. We didn’t have any luck or a reverse grid to be there so we’re definitely moving forward, but we have to keep our feet on the ground. We’ve still got more performance to find in the car and it’s not there yet. I didn’t expect two podiums, especially with the speed of the Hondas and the MGs, so to take those results when they’re in the kind of form they are is absolutely fantastic.”
 
Adam Morgan said: “It’s absolutely amazing to get that result, not just for myself but for my team, my family and all the sponsors that support me. The race was pretty hectic – I didn’t get a second to catch my breath, but I just kept pushing and to get my first BTCC podium at my home circuit – it’s brilliant. The car felt really really good, and now I’ve got one, I’ll be pushing harder than ever to get up there again.”

F1Weekly podcast # 621

BTCC brands hatch 2013

F1WEEKLY PODCAST NUMBER 621- NASIR IS BACK FROM SEPANG AND SHARES HIS THOUGHTS ON THE MALAYSIAN CONTROVERSY. MG TAKES VICTORY IN THE FIRST AND SECOND RACES IN THE BTCC SEASON OPENER AT BRANDS HATCH AND HONDA RALLIES IN THE FINAL RACE OF THE WEEKEND…

MG racer Plato claims two wins before Neal leads home a Honda one-two in final contest.

Jason Plato leads the 2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship after taking two wins from the opening three races of the season on the Brands Hatch Indy circuit.
 
Matt Neal led home Honda Yuasa Racing team-mate Gordon Shedden in the final race to ensure the champion squad ended a challenging weekend on a high. Fellow Honda Civic driver Andrew Jordan is second in the standings after securing a pole position, two second places and a sixth from the weekend.
 
Plato won the opening race of the year after coming out on top of a pulsating battle with Jordan. Rob Austin had led the early running in his Audi A4 before both Plato and Jordan slipped by. A closing Jordan made one final lunge on Plato in an attempt to claim victory, and the rather optimistic move ended in contact with both cars sliding off the track. Incredibly both scrabbled their way back onto the circuit before third placed Austin had arrived, and Plato hung on to win.
 
Race two was a much more commanding affair as Plato took a lights-to-flag victory – the 76th win of his record breaking BTCC career. Jordan again claimed second, ahead of the charging Honda of reigning champion Shedden. The Scotsman was later excluded, however, after his car failed ride height regulations during post-race scrutineering, handing Jeff Smith a popular podium for Pirtek Racing.
 
Triple-champion Neal then went on to secure his first win of the new campaign, leading home team-mate Shedden by an incredibly close 0.083s. Neal took the lead early on after pole-sitter Mat Jackson slid wide in his Ford Focus at Druids. The Honda driver went on to take charge of the race, before fending off a late challenge from Shedden. A great drive from 23-year-old Sam Tordoff saw him score his maiden BTCC podium for the MG KX Momentum team, which along with Plato’s healthy points score means the squad is in charge of the Manufacturer standings.
 
The final race also included a huge accident when Dave Newsham spun his Toyota Avensis on the dip between Paddock and the run up to Druids. Austin attempted to take avoiding action but clipped Newsham’s stricken car on his way through. Austin’s Audi ran on to the grass at high speed before making heavy impact with the barrier on the inside of the circuit. Both drivers emerged unscathed from the dramatic incident.
 
The Jack Sears Trophy – for S2000 cars – is led by Liam Griffin after the Addison Lee Motorbase driver claimed two wins in his Ford Focus. James Kaye was the inaugural victor having won the first race in the AmDTuning.com VW Golf.
 
It was Jason Plato who left Kent with the biggest smile as the double-champion holds a nine-point lead in the standings over Jordan. Tordoff’s maiden podium and two top-six finishes mean he lies third in the championship, followed by the consistent Smith and race three victor Neal. The BTCC battle is rejoined at Donington Park in Leicestershire on 20-21 April.
 
Jason Plato said: “I am delighted with the first two wins. Last year was a sign of what might have come for us at MG – but we’ve changed the balance considerably now so it’s much easier to drive. It has been a good weekend.”

Matt Neal said: “I’m really chuffed with the one-two after what’s been a tough weekend, but they always say to finish on a high. It was a nice way to finish the race in Honda formation – it reminded me of the last race of last season.”
 
Penalties: Frank Wrathall (Dynojet) was fined £1000 and given three penalty points on his competition licence for incidents in race two.

 
2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Brands Hatch Indy – Provisional Results
 
Race 1
1 Jason Plato (MG KX Momentum Racing) 27 Laps

2 Andrew Jordan (Pirtek Racing) +2.168 

3 Rob Austin (WIX Racing) +6.130

4 Sam Tordoff (MG KX Momentum Racing) +7.781

5 Jeff Smith (Pirtek Racing) +8.245

6 Frank Wrathall (Dynojet) +13.622

 
Race 2
1 Jason Plato (MG KX Momentum Racing) 49.124

2 Andrew Jordan (Pirtek Racing) +0.989

3 Jeff Smith (Pirtek Racing) +4.958

4 Matt Neal (Honda Yuasa Racing) +5.073

5 Sam Tordoff (MG KX Momentum Racing) +5.454

6 Adam Morgan (Ciceley Racing) +5.874
 
Race 3
1 Matt Neal (Honda Yuasa Racing) 27 laps

2 Gordon Shedden (Honda Yuasa Racing) +0.083

3 Sam Tordoff (MG KX Momentum Racing) +1.216

4 Adam Morgan (Ciceley Racing) +2.171

5 Jason Plato (MG KX Momentum Racing) +3.651

6 Andrew Jordan (Pirtek Racing) +4.727
 
2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Provisional Driver Standings – after 3 of 30 rounds
 
1 Jason Plato (MG KX Momentum Racing) 54 points

2 Andrew Jordan (Pirtek Racing) 45
3 Sam Tordoff (MG KX Momentum Racing) 40

4 Jeff Smith (Pirtek Racing) 35
5 Matt Neal (Honda Yuasa Racing) 34

6 Adam Morgan (Ciceley Racing) 32
[audio:http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/mp3.f1weekly.com/podcasts/03-31-13f1weekly621.mp3]

BTCC

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ANDREW JORDAN TAKES POLE POSITION…

Honda Civic racer claims third pole position of his BTCC career

Andrew Jordan took the opening pole position of the 2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship amid a shower of sleet at a cold Brands Hatch.
 
Jordan fired an early warning by setting the fastest time during free practice in the morning, and he backed that up by edging out champion Gordon Shedden by less than a tenth of a second in qualifying.
 
The MG KX Momentum duo of Jason Plato and Sam Tordoff will line-up third and fifth respectively for Sunday’s opening race, with Honda Yuasa Racing’s Matt Neal sandwiched between them in fourth. David Newsham rounded out the top six in his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis.
 
The session got off to a dramatic start with a number of drivers spinning on their out-laps while trying to get some heat into the tyres. The first notable victim was Pirtek’s Jeff Smith on the run up to Druids, but real chaos followed when Colin Turkington lost control on the exit of the same hairpin. As cars dived one way and then the other to avoid the stricken BMW 125i M Sport, an unsighted Jack Goff unfortunately collected the 2009 champion. Turkington managed to hobble his damaged BMW back to the pits but the Vauxhall Insignia of Goff wasn’t so fortunate – his car was unable to continue after the contact. Liam Griffin and David Nye both endured their own lurid moments while trying to avoid Turkington, but were able to re-join later in the session.
 
After a red flag period to clear the Goff’s car and related debris, it was the turn of some of the underdogs to top the times early after the restart. Rob Austin (Audi A4) and Tom Onslow-Cole (VW Passat CC) both enjoyed spells at the top of the timesheet before eBay Motors’ Rob Collard made his own move to provisional pole.
 
The Hondas and MGs were merely waiting in the wings however, and it was Jordan that made the first move with 20 minutes of the session remaining. Shedden fought back and made his first appearance at the top of the order with a 48.483s lap time. Not to be outdone, Jordan improved again to set a time just 0.096s quicker than his Honda counterpart. 
 
With half of the session still remaining, any hope for an exciting climax diminished when light sleet and hail began to fall at the legendary Kent venue. With drivers failing to improve their times there were more off-track moments for Neal, Newsham and Jeff Smith.
 
Outside of the noted top six finishers, it was Austin who held on to seventh when the chequered flag fell, with Jeff Smith, Nick Foster and Adam Morgan completing the top ten grid order.
 
Airwaves Racing’s Mat Jackson and Aron Smith could only produce 12th and 14th respectively as the team admitted to be searching for the perfect set-up for its NGTC Ford Focus. Another to endure a problematic session was Dynojet’s Frank Wrathall after a ride height infringement saw his top ten time removed and he’ll subsequently start at the back of the grid.
 
Lea Wood dominated the S2000 runners in his Vauxhall Vectra and will have the pleasure of leading the inaugural battle for Jack Sears Trophy honours when race one gets underway tomorrow. 
 
The big winner, however, was Jordan who signalled his intention to challenge for the 2013 title by claiming the third pole position of his BTCC career. He also leads the championship after scoring the first point of the new season for taking pole.

Andrew Jordan said: “It’s nice to qualify on pole, obviously it’s the only time that everyone will have no ballast so it’s a complete level playing field. We’ve been quick in testing, and earlier today we did a race run and the pace was really good then as well. That was really the easy part though – tomorrow’s the hard part. We’ve got a lot of work still to do, but we’ve started in the right place.” 
 
Gordon Shedden said: “That’s got to be one of the strangest sessions I’ve driven in for a long time. It was definitely the first session I’ve qualified in where it snowed! We’re on the front row which is a great place to be. You’re never going to win the championship at Round 1 but you can make life really difficult for yourself. It’s great to be at the sharp end and with three Honda Civics in the top four, and I’m sure there are going to be three exciting races tomorrow so I cant wait.”
 
Jason Plato said: “I’m a bit frustrated with qualifying to be honest. There were just lots of cars out there not paying attention and I didn’t get a clear lap in. On my last lap I had purple sectors until the last corner and I got badly baulked – so I’m a bit frustrated that I didn’t reach my full potential and didn’t get the best out of the car otherwise I think we could have had a good chance at pole. Still, we’re not far off so we’ve still got a chance to win from there.”

There will be three Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races at Brands Hatch tomorrow (31 March) with the opener taking place at 11:45. All three races will be broadcast live on ITV4 and ITV4 HD with the coverage commencing at 10:45.

 
2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Brands Hatch Indy – Qualifying
 
1 Andrew Jordan (Pirtek Honda) 48.387
2 Gordon Shedden  (Honda Yuasa Racing) +0.096
3 Jason Plato (MG KX Momentum Racing) +0.184
4 Matt Neal (Honda Yuasa Racing) +0.227
5 Sam Tordoff (MG KX Momentum Racing) +0.339
6 Dave Newsham (Speedworks Motorsport) +0.440
7 Rob Austin (WIX Racing) +0.457
8 Jeff Smith (Pirtek Honda) +0.527
9 Nick Foster (eBay Motors)  +0.814
10 Adam Morgan (Ciceley Racing) +0.816

BTCC

BTCC 2013 Grid

BUMPER BTCC GRID GEARS UP FOR SEASON OPENER – UK’s premier motor racing championship roars into Brands Hatch

The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship roars into Brands Hatch, Kent, this weekend (30/31 March) for the opening round of the 2013 season.
 
Fresh from confirming a record – and capacity – 32-car grid and a new television broadcasting deal with ITV that takes live coverage up to at least 2017, the BTCC is leading a bright new era of touring car racing. Adding to the anticipation of the new campaign is the fact that there’ll be four champions on the grid, with returning 2009 victor Colin Turkington joining reigning champion Gordon Shedden and multiple title winners Matt Neal and Jason Plato.
 
In total an incredible 13 models from 11 different marques are entered, including both Honda and MG as official Manufacturer teams, with no fewer than 26 of the unprecedented number entering with the BTCC’s latest NGTC-spec machinery.
 
A further addition to the championship is the introduction of a new ‘soft’ tyre compound from Dunlop – similar to those used in Formula 1 – which will see drivers in NGTC-spec cars having one set at their disposal over the weekend. These tyres will offer a variation in performance to the standard compound tyre and must be used in one of the three races at each event. Teams must nominate, prior to Saturday’s qualifying session, which particular race they elect to use them. Drivers in the older S2000 machines will also still have plenty to play for as they contest the inaugural Jack Sears Trophy throughout the 2013 season.
 
Brands Hatch is steeped in motor sport tradition and has seen its fair share of BTCC history created over the years, none more recently than when Gordon Shedden claimed the 2012 title on the legendary Grand Prix circuit last October. The 2013 season kicks off on the Indy configuration of the circuit, however, and the statistics do not fair well for reigning champion Shedden (Honda Yuasa Racing Team), as the Scotsman has never won a BTCC race at Brands.
 
The master of the tight and twisty 1.2 miles of tarmac is Jason Plato (MG KX Momentum Racing), with the double champ having won no fewer than 12 rounds there during his career. Unsurprisingly Plato is closely followed by triple champion and title rival Matt Neal (Honda Yuasa Racing Team), on 10 wins, and Neal will be aiming to gun down Plato’s record this weekend.
 
On the subject of title contenders, the return of Colin Turkington to the BTCC created huge interest over the winter. The Irishman is reunited with West Surrey Racing – who he raced for during his 2009 championship winning campaign – but this time he’ll be driving in an all-new BMW 125i M Sport under the eBay Motors banner.
 
Independents’ Champion Andrew Jordan is another who’ll be aiming for overall honours this year in his Pirtek Racing Honda Civic, and there’ll be huge local interest, too, with Airwaves Racing also targeting the title. Mat Jackson leads the driver line-up for the Wrotham-based squad, with the 2008 BTCC runner-up looking to go one better this season. Other local teams gunning for glory this weekend are Dartford’s Team HARD. and West Thurrock outfit AmDTuning.com.
 
The event is always one of the region’s biggest sporting events of the year, with the weekend getting underway with two practice sessions and qualifying on the Saturday. A huge crowd is then expected to brave the chilly conditions currently blanketing the nation for the hugely exciting triple-header of races on Sunday. For those that cannot make the event – ITV4 HD will be broadcasting more than six hours of live coverage throughout the day from 10:45am.
 
A stellar cast will also support the BTCC over the weekend, producing no fewer than 12 further races, arguably led by the return of single-seater formula racing to the bill. The Dunlop MSA Formula Ford Championship of Great Britain, which launched the careers of a host of top drivers including Ayrton Senna and Jenson Button, will provide three races across the weekend, as will the Michelin Ginetta GT Supercup, whilst Porsche Carrera Cup GB, Renault UK Clio Cup and Ginetta Junior Championship will all enjoy double-headers.
 
With advanced bookings now closed, Saturday is priced at £13 for adults and £10 for Senior Citizens on the gate. Sunday tickets are priced at adults £31 and Senior Citizens £20. Admission for accompanied children aged 12 and under is FREE all weekend. All admission includes access to Sunday morning’s autograph session with the BTCC drivers in the pit lane as well as free parking. Brands Hatch will also have big screens in place for fans to keep fully abreast of all the action via ITV4’s live race day broadcast.

BTCC

PLATO & JACKSON SHARE WINS AT SILVERSTONE TO
SET UP FOUR-WAY BRANDS HATCH TITLE-DECIDER
 
Jason Plato, with two wins, and Mat Jackson shared the victories in three astonishing Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races in front of a mammoth 30,000 crowd at the Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire today. Ultimately four drivers – Gordon Shedden, Plato, Matt Neal and Andrew Jordan – will go into the 2012 season’s final three races, on Brands Hatch’s legendary Grand Prix circuit in a fortnight (20/21 October), with a chance of being crowned Champion of Britain’s premier motor racing series.
 
After achieving his fifth pole position of the year – also his third in a row – with a qualifying lap record on Saturday, Oxford’s Plato went on to win today’s first race in his MG KX Momentum Racing MG6, but only after Jackson’s Redstone Racing Ford Focus cruelly retired from the lead with just a few laps to go.
 
Finishing second and third were Inverness’s Dave Newsham in his Team ES Racing.com Vauxhall Vectra and, with his first podium result, Jackson’s team-mate Aron Smith from Dublin. Fife’s Shedden took seventh in his Honda Yuasa Racing Team Honda Civic but Worcestershire team-mate Neal and Lichfield’s Jordan, in his Pirtek Racing Civic, both retired.
 
Warwickshire’s Jackson then won race two ahead of Hook’s Robert Collard (eBay Motors BMW) and Newsham with a quite incredible drive from 17th on the grid, this time after Plato retired from the lead. Jackson also set a new race lap record as he notched up the first victory for his squad’s NGTC-spec Focus. Shedden was again seventh with Jordan ninth while Neal suffered another retirement when his car spectacularly caught fire.
 
It was then Plato’s turn to wow the crowds as he came through from 20th to win race three ahead of Jackson and Collard. Shedden was sixth and Jordan seventh but, almost unbelievably, reigning Champion Neal retired again, this time after being forced off the track into a barrier.
 
As a result, Shedden still leads the table by 15 points from Plato who has moved past Neal into second overall. Neal is 31 behind Shedden and Jordan 61 adrift with a possible maximum of 67 still available from ‘Finals Day’.
 
An ecstatic Plato commented: “Despite the retirement in race two this is still one of the best days in my BTCC career. We’ve made more progress with our MG6 – in fact it’s a rocketship – and our tails are well and truly in the air. For MG to go into the final round with a chance of lifting the title in its first year back in the championship is fantastic and I really believe we’ve got the Honda boys worried.”
 
Shedden, from Dalgety Bay and who is aiming to become Scotland’s first BTCC Champion since John Cleland in 1995, said: “We knew this was going to be our bogey circuit so today was about picking up what crumbs we could – I don’t think we could have wrung any more out of the car. I expect us to be fully back on song at Brands Hatch which has got lots of high-speed corners where our Civic comes into its own. I’d take points in the bag any day and I’m feeling good about our chances.” Neal added: “Today has been a shocker but I’m not out of it yet – there are still a lot of points to be won at Brands and I’ll be going there with all guns blazing. Jason’s MG will be strong there and our main objective is to get a Honda over the line in first. Gordon is obviously better placed to do that so is the priority…”

 
Jordan will also go to Brands still with a healthy lead in the Independent Drivers Championship, although can still be caught by Collard, Jackson and eBay Motors’ Tom Onslow-Cole. He admitted: “Let’s be realistic. There’s no way the outright championship is possible so my focus will be to stay ahead of my Independent rivals. Rob has effectively halved the gap to 28 points but there are only 60 left at Brands and our car will be much stronger there.”
 
Jackson was delighted with his results today which marked his return to the podium since Thruxton in April. “A win from 17th, a second and a new lap record in a car that is still only two months old and it could have been two wins… I couldn’t be happier for everyone in my team,” he said.
 
Elsewhere Honda/Dynamics is all but assured the coveted Manufacturers/Constructors title. Similarly the Honda Yuasa Racing Team is a red hot favourite to retain the outright HiQ Teams Championship although can still be caught by eBay Motors. But it will be a three-way fight for the Independent Teams Trophy at Brands between new leader eBay Motors, Pirtek Racing and Redstone Racing – just ten points cover the trio with a potential 60 up for grabs in the finale.
 
Meanwhile a number of drivers were punished today by BTCC officials for on-track indiscretions. Race 1: Andy Neate, fined £500 and three penalty points on his competition licence for an incident with Andrew Jordan; Tony Gilham, official reprimand and two penalty points for an incident during a safety car period; Lea Wood, fined £500 and three penalty points for an incident with Liam Griffin. Race 3: Lea Wood, fined £500 and three penalty points for an incident with Matt Neal; Rob Austin, excluded from the results and four penalty points for an incident with Daniel Welch; Frank Wrathall, fined £500 and three penalty points for an incident with Dave Newsham; Andrew Jordan, received a verbal warning for making contact with another car.

BTCC

PLATO ON POLE AT SILVERSTONE AS HONDA RIVALS STRUGGLE
 
Jason Plato has taken pole position in this afternoon’s Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship qualifying session at Silverstone as points leader Gordon Shedden struggled in a lowly 19th.
 
Oxford’s Plato took his fifth pole of the season – also his third in a row – with a best lap of 58.717s in his KX Momentum Racing MG6. That is a new BTCC qualifying lap record around Silverstone’s 1.64-mile National circuit.
 
Warwickshire’s Mat Jackson was second fastest in his Redstone Racing Ford Focus which had been repaired following a practice session prang and Lancashire’s Frank Wrathall third in his Dynojet Toyota Avensis.
 
Robert Collard’s eBay Motors BMW, Dave Newsham’s Team ES Racing.com Vauxhall Vectra and Daniel Welch’s Welch Motorsport Proton Persona were next up to make it six different makes of car in the top six.
 
But the two championship leaders Shedden and Matt Neal in their factory Honda Yuasa Racing Team Honda Civics were in major trouble. Neal, the reigning Champion, was only tenth and Shedden a disastrous 19th on a circuit that both had already hinted would be difficult for them because of their car’s lack of straightline speed.
 
Fife’s Shedden will go into tomorrow’s three races three points ahead of Neal with Plato a further 29 back and a possible maximum of 67 available. Andrew Jordan, 11th in his Pirtek Racing Honda, Collard and his team-mate Tom Onslow-Cole who was eighth in qualifying plus Jackson all still have a chance of winning this year’s title as well.
 
Plato commented: “Gordon only 19th – that’s a shame, isn’t it? You shouldn’t wish ill on your rivals… but I do. Hopefully the conditions will stay dry for tomorrow because clearly we’re in great shape and a good points haul will really make this championship come alive for us. Things have a way of evening themselves out and maybe here it’s our turn after some bad luck.”
 
A dejected Shedden, from Dalegty Bay, added: “We knew this was going to be our bogey circuit but we didn’t expect it to be this bad – the pace simply isn’t there. As the championship leader I’ve also got to start the first race tomorrow carrying maximum success ballast in my car. The only positive from that session is that it’s over.”
 
Meanwhile Jackson was delighted with not only his best qualifying performance so far in 2012 but also the best yet for his squad’s new NGTC-spec Focus. He enthused: “It’s going really well this weekend despite the off earlier in practice. The gap to Jason is quite large when you look at how close it is behind but the Focus is the only other car to get into the 58-seconds bracket and we’re learning all the time. I’m feeling good about tomorrow.”
 
Wrathall, who turned 26 earlier in the week, said: “I’m delighted with third. It’s such a tight lap with each place decided by the tiniest fractions so it’s important we qualified well.”
 
Tomorrow’s three races will be shown live as part of a mammoth seven-hour broadcast (11.00am-6.00pm) on the ITV4 and ITV4 HD channels plus the www.itv.com website.