Tag Archives: Jason Plato

BTCC

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.

Little more than a week remains before Northamptonshire’s world-famous Silverstone circuit (Sat 6/Sun 7 Oct) hosts the crucial penultimate round of this year’s Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. The three races at Silverstone will decide who will then still be in with a chance of winning the UK’s most prestigious motor racing title on Finals Day at Brands Hatch in Kent a fortnight later.
Seven drivers can mathematically still be crowned BTCC Champion in 2012, namely Honda Yuasa Racing Team team-mates Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal who lead the way, MG KX Momentum Racing’s Jason Plato, Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan, eBay Motors pair Robert Collard and Tom Onslow-Cole and Redstone Racing’s Mat Jackson.
 
Arriving at Silverstone it is Hampshire’s Collard, Surrey’s Onslow-Cole and Warwickshire’s Jackson who will be most under pressure to perform if they are to keep their fading title hopes alive. All are presently more than 67 points adrift of leader Shedden with that then being the maximum available when the cars take to the legendary Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit for the season finale on the weekend of 20/21 October.
 
Of the four ahead, two wins for Scotsman Shedden last weekend at Rockingham, also in Northamptonshire, have moved him into the championship lead by three points from Worcestershire’s Neal. Shedden has never won the BTCC before while Neal is looking to retain his crown from last season – achieved when he defeated Shedden at Silverstone – and make it four titles to his name.
 
For Oxford’s Plato, himself a double BTCC Champion, Silverstone is very much his home event as it is for Lichfield youngster Jordan who, like Shedden and Neal, races a Honda Civic. All three Honda drivers, though, are expecting to struggle around Silverstone’s high-speed National circuit and Plato, in his MG6, will be hoping they are right.
 
Plato is currently 32 points behind Shedden with a maximum of 67 available from Silverstone’s three races. What’s more his MG team-mate Andy Neate, another local from nearby Aylesbury, will surely be out to aid Plato’s chances by stealing vital points away from his Honda rivals…
 
Silverstone’s short lap and long, wide straights never fail to deliver plenty of doorhandle-to-doorhandle entertainment for fans. Indeed the view from Woodcote corner of cars slipstreaming and fanning out five abreast along the Wellington Straight is one of the most evocative of the season.
 
As ever ‘the home of British motor sport’, easily accessible from across the Midlands just off the A43 dual carriageway between the M40 and M1 motorways, is making its big BTCC weekend hugely popular among audiences both young and old. Adult tickets for race day (Sunday) start from just £29 if booked in advance with admission for accompanied children aged 15 and under FREE all weekend. All admission includes access to grandstands, the main central BTCC teams’ paddock and Sunday’s specially organised autograph session with the star touring car drivers.
 
To book in advance visit www.silverstone.co.uk or call the ticket hotline 0844 3750 740.

BTCC

SHEDDEN TAKES CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD AFTER
SHARING WINS AT ROCKINGHAM WITH PLATO-

Jason Plato and Gordon Shedden shared the wins in today’s three exhilarating Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races at Northamptonshire’s Rockingham circuit. Two of the wins went the way of Scotsman Shedden who has now taken over the championship lead as the title race stays in the county for its penultimate three races of the season at Silverstone in a fortnight (6/7 October).
 
Plato had taken pole position with a new qualifying lap record on Saturday in his MG KX Momentum Racing MG6. He duly went on to dominate today’s first race, held in dry conditions, and set a new race lap record en route. Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan and Honda Yuasa Racing Team star Shedden were second and third in their Honda Civics.

But then conditions changed dramatically as heavy rain settled in for the rest of the day, this enabling Shedden and Neal to take a pair of dream 1-2 results for their team in both the second and third races. Plato finished behind them on each occasion in third.

 
As a result Shedden leaves Rockingham with a three-point lead over Neal. Plato is a further 29 behind with a maximum of 134 still available from the season’s final six races – three each at Silverstone in two weeks and Brands Hatch, Kent a fortnight later (Sun 21 Oct).
 
Dalgety Bay’s Shedden, who has now won eight times in 2012, commented: “I’m delighted – it seems ages since we won a race so to score a pair of 1-2s is just great for everyone in our team. The rain certainly helped us today as Jason had been looking very strong if it had stayed dry. Importantly we’ve maintained a decent gap to him as we’re expecting him to have the upper hand at Silverstone.”

Worcestershire’s Neal, the reigning Champion who has driven this weekend in pain from a broken hand, said: “I’m just pleased to get through the weekend. Gordon was unstoppable in those conditions but a pair of seconds and a sixth are probably better than I thought was possible. We’re expecting Silverstone to be tough but this really helps thinking ahead to Brands Hatch.”

 
Oxford’s Plato added: “We’ve managed to hold the gap to the Honda drivers, even take a little nibble out of them, at what is one of the strongest circuits for their car so I’m satisfied with that. Silverstone is going to be all-important, though – ultimately I want us to go to the final round so there’s a proper showdown for the people watching.”
 
Meanwhile Honda/Dynamics and the Honda Yuasa Racing Team continue to dominate the Manufacturer/Constructor and outright HiQ Teams championships respectively. Jordan has moved further clear at the top of the Independent Drivers Championship. And his Pirtek Racing squad has also regained the Independent Teams Trophy lead.
 
Elsewhere several drivers were punished by officials for on-track indiscretions today. Race 1: Jeff Smith, fined £500 and three penalty points on his competition licence following an incident with Aron Smith. Race 1: Matt Neal, verbal warning following an incident with Rob Austin. Race 2, Jason Plato, verbal warning for performing practice starts.

BTCC

PLATO SETS QUALIFYING LAP RECORD
ON WAY TO ROCKINGHAM POLE POSITION
 
Jason Plato has taken his fifth pole position of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season in qualifying at the Rockingham circuit in Northamptonshire.
 
Plato set a new qualifying lap record with a time of 1m22.448s in his MG KX Momentum Racing MG6. That was more than six tenths of a second clear of the Honda Yuasa Racing Team’s Gordon Shedden who was next up but, by comparison, a mere 0.014s ahead of third-placed Andrew Jordan in his Pirtek Racing Honda Civic.
 
Mat Jackson produced a late spurt of speed to qualify fourth fastest in his Redstone Racing Ford Focus. Plato’s and Shedden’s team-mates Andy Neate and Matt Neal were fifth and sixth. It is worth pointing out that Neal, the reigning Champion and current points leader, is racing this weekend in pain with a broken hand and his car in qualifying was carrying the maximum 45kgs of success ballast.
 
Oxford’s Plato commented: “From the moment I put my bum in the car this morning it’s felt great – we’ve really moved it on but the job’s only half done. It’s important I convert pole into a win or two tomorrow as I really need to take a bite out of the Honda drivers in the championship.”
 
Shedden added: “I’m both happy and disappointed. On one hand as a team we’ve got an awful lot out of the car in qualifying. The lap time I’ve done is a second faster than pole in 2011 but I’m still over six tenths off pole – another six tenths cover second down to 11th! Jason obviously got one heck of a lap out of it, but tomorrow is very different with race tactics such as tyre management coming into it…”
 
And said Jordan: “It was a pretty uneventful session for me. I only did one flying lap and was quite happy with the time so decided save some fresh sets of tyres for tomorrow’s races – it a very abrasive circuit here after all. There was no point trying to challenge Jason as it was never going to happen.”
 

Meanwhile there was an impressive performance from newcomer Howard Fuller, 14th fastest in Team HARD.’s Honda Civic and just a second away from Shedden’s front-row time

BTCC

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.
 

BTCC

PLATO, JORDAN & NEWSHAM SHARE WINS AT
SNETTERTON BUT NEAL
STILL LEADS TITLE RACE

Jason Plato, Andrew Jordan and, for the first time, Dave Newsham shared the wins in today’s three action-packed Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races at the Snetterton circuit in Norfolk. But it is Matt Neal who continues to lead the standings – just – from team-mate Gordon Shedden as the nation’s premier motor racing championship now heads to the latter’s home circuit of Knockhill, Fife in a fortnight on the weekend of 25/26 August.

Preston’s Frank Wrathall had achieved his and his Dynojet team’s first BTCC pole position in Saturday’s qualifying session. Oxford’s Plato, though, got in front at the start of race one to take his third win of 2012 in his MG KX Momentum Racing MG6. Wrathall was second in his Toyota Avensis and Jordan third in his Pirtek Racing Honda Civic.
 
Lichfield’s Jordan took the win in the second race – his first of the season – but only after Plato’s MG and Worcestershire ace Neal’s Honda Yuasa Racing Team Civic had controversially collided and run off the track ahead of him with a lap to go. Shedden was second ahead of the recovering Plato and Neal in third and fourth.

Inverness racer Newsham’s victory, his and the tiny Team ES Racing.com squad’s first in the BTCC, came in race three as he won comfortably in his Vauxhall Vectra. Tom Onslow-Cole was second in his eBay Motors BMW ahead of Plato who took another third.

 
Lea Wood may well have achieved a maiden podium result had his BINZ Racing Vectra not cruelly retired with just a few laps to go, while Mat Jackson completed a hugely encouraging debut for Redstone Racing’s all-new NGTC-spec Ford Focus ST – only completed at 7.00am on Saturday – with a fourth-place finish.
 
But there was a double disaster for the factory Honda squad as Neal finished a lowly eighth after a spin and Shedden, who had crossed the line in third, was later excluded for a technical infringement with his car.
 
It means reigning Champion Neal retains the championship lead but now only ten points cover the top three, with Shedden eight behind and Plato just two more adrift. Plato had started today 29 points down on Neal…
 
Neal commented: “We knew we were on the back foot after qualifying and so it proved to be. It’s been a case of damage limitation today and the spin in race three after contact from Wrathall did me no favours. Knockhill, which has shorter straights, is next so should be better for us but it’s clear we have a lot of work to do.”

Dalgety Bay’s Shedden, who’d started the day’s first race from last on the grid after a spectacular fire aboard his car on Saturday morning had prevented him from qualifying, was dejected. He said: “I’ve clearly done something to someone, what with the fire and then the exclusion – without that I’d have been leading the table and it was also very cruel on the team who’d performed miracles to give me a race-ready car today after the fire. Knockhill is, of course, next and I’m determined to fight back for the fans there. I won’t be short on adrenaline…”

Three podium results today have suddenly moved Plato right back into contention as he chases a third BTCC title. He added: “I couldn’t have asked for much more, although it was a shame about the incident with Matt in race two after I’d led all the way up until then. What’s encouraging is the MG is really starting to come alive at a crucial stage of the season. In fact I think it’s going to be strong at all four remaining rounds so it’s game on.”

 
Jordan and Newsham were both elated with their wins. The former enthused: “The win is long overdue and the perfect way for us to start the second half of the season. I’m delighted.” And said Newsham: “A win for little ES Racing and the sponsors who keep our season ticking over is just unbelievable but thoroughly deserved. The timing couldn’t be better either with Knockhill, my home race, next. It’s going to be a very special weekend.”
 
Elsewhere Honda/Dynamics and the Honda Yuasa Racing Team continue to handsomely lead both the Manufacturers/Constructors and outright HiQ Teams championships. Jordan has also extended his lead in the Independent Drivers standings and his Pirtek Racing outfit has taken command of the Independent Teams Trophy.
 
Meanwhile a number of drivers were penalised for incidents at Snetterton today. Race 1: Robb Holland, official reprimand and two penalty points on his competition licence (for an incident with Adam Morgan); Dave Newsham, excluded (underweight car); Andrew Jordan, verbal warning (for an incident with Dave Newsham). Race 2: Jason Plato and Matt Neal, verbal warnings (for an on-track collision); Jeff Smith, official reprimand and two penalty points on his licence (for an incident with Andy Neate). Race 3: Gordon Shedden, excluded (for exceeding turbo boost limits); Frank Wrathall, verbal warning (for an incident with Matt Neal).

BTCC

WINS AT CROFT FOR NEAL, SHEDDEN &
PLATO –
 NEAL TAKES CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD
 
Matt Neal, Gordon Shedden and Jason Plato shared the wins in today’s three Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races at Croft Circuit which were full of incident, drama and controversy. It is Neal who tonight leaves the North Yorkshire venue leading the standings by just a point from Honda team-mate Shedden as the championship enters a lengthy summer break before resuming at Norfolk’s Snetterton circuit on the weekend of 11/12 August.
 
Worcestershire’s Neal set the fastest time in Saturday’s qualifying session to take pole position for the first of today’s races in his Honda Yuasa Racing Team Civic. He dropped to third at the start but fought back to win ahead of eBay Motors BMW driver Robert Collard and Shedden and take over at the top of the points table.
 
Fife’s Shedden then responded with victory in the second race to re-claim the championship lead. Neal took the runners-up spot to complete a 1-2 result for Honda – it was also the seventh win in a row for the Team Dynamics-prepared factory Civics. Behind, Rob Austin took his first podium result of the season in third in his Rob Austin Racing Audi A4.
 
Having missed the first race because of mechanical problems with his car, Oxford’s Plato, who hails from Newcastle-upon-Tyne, won race three to end a six-year wins drought in front of his ‘home crowd’. Tom Onslow-Cole’s eBay Motors BMW and Andrew Jordan’s Pirtek Racing Honda Civic were second and third.
 
Fourth place for Neal was enough to move him back ahead in the title race from Shedden who finished the race in sixth. Plato remains third in the standings, some 29 points – 20 are awarded per race win – adrift of Neal.
 
Neal’s win today was his fourth of the season and the reigning Champion commented: “I’m very pleased but all it does is give me the bragging rights for the next seven weeks before we get back to business. Plus maximum success ballast in my car for Snetterton! Our car, the Civic, is in a class of its own under braking and through the corners but we need to test during the break because Jason and Triple Eight Race Engineering who run the MG will come out all guns blazing in the second half of the season.”

Dalgety Bay’s Shedden, now with an unrivalled six wins in 2012, said: “I don’t mind being second at this stage – the lead is going to keep on changing hands all the way until Finals Day in October. It’s great to get another win but it’s all about scoring as well as possible in every race. I think I’ve achieved that today so job done.”

 
Double Champion Plato’s win was his second this year and he added: “Today’s win was crucial in making sure we keep the Hondas in sight but, as a team, we are still learning about the MG6. It’s important we manage our expectations but we have a few test days planned for the break and that will enable me to get more comfortable with the car and for the engineers to work their magic. I think we can still find another second per lap.”
 
Meanwhile Honda/Dynamics and the Honda Yuasa Racing Team have significantly increased their respective leads in the Manufacturers/Constructors and HiQ Teams championships. Jordan continues to lead the Independent Drivers Trophy but only just from Collard. eBay Motors has leapt from third to first in the Independent Teams Trophy ahead of Pirtek Racing which is just two points behind.
 
Elsewhere officials punished a number of drivers for on-track incidents during the weekend. Ollie Jackson received two penalty points on his competition licence and an official reprimand following an incident in race one involving Tony Gilham. Jackson was then handed the same penalty again after race three for an incident involving Chris James. Officials also took action after reviewing incidents in the third race at Oulton Park two weeks ago. Dave Newsham received two penalty points on his licence and an official reprimand for an incident involving Daniel Welch. Robert Collard was similarly punished for an incident involving Andrew Jordan and also received a verbal warning for a separate incident involving Mat Jackson. Will Bratt and Adam Morgan were given verbal warnings for an incident between them.