Tag Archives: MG

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

POLE POSITION
FOR PLATO AT OULTON PARK
 

Jason Plato set a qualifying lap record to grab pole position for the first of tomorrow’s three Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races at the Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire.

Plato left it right until the end of a highly exciting session to post a best time of 1m26.872s in his KX Momentum Racing MG6 and pip arch rival Matt Neal to pole by just 0.077s. Neal’s time of 1m26.949s in his Honda Yuasa Racing Team Civic was also beneath the old record.

So too were the times set by Robert Collard, third in his eBay Motors BMW and Andrew Jordan, fourth in his Pirtek Racing Honda Civic.

Significantly, all these times were set in less than ideal track conditions with a number of damp patches still on the circuit. Furthermore, championship leader Plato’s time was set in a car carrying the maximum 45kgs of success ballast.

The former double Champion from Oxford commented: “I put the team under a bit of pressure in that session – I ran wide at Lodge corner on my first run and on my second was off the track and through the puddles at Cascades. It all came down to that final run – Matt had just set a very good time but we thought it still might just be possible so it was all or nothing on that last lap.”

Worcestershire’s Neal, the reigning Champion, added: “I was on track at the end and I knew Jason was as well – I was sure he had something up his sleeve and suddenly the team started telling me over the radio he was setting best sector times. I was warming up a new set of tyres for what was going to be my final run but couldn’t get across the line in time to respond.”

And said Hampshire’s Collard: “I’m very happy with third. All I need now is one of my demon starts tomorrow but it’s a very narrow circuit at Oulton – I went from fifth to first at Donington Park but whether I can squeeze between Jason and Matt at the start here… I think that gap might close very quickly.”

Neal’s team-mate Gordon Shedden was fifth fastest while, just a few places behind, Daniel Welch qualified a career-best eighth in his Welch Motorsport Proton Persona. 

Motorsports Mondial

PLATO SEIZES EARLY POINTS LEAD AFTER SHARING BRANDS HATCH WINS WITH COLLARD & NEAL

 Robert Collard, Matt Neal and Jason Plato shared the wins in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship’s first three races of 2012 today at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit in Kent. A win for double Champion Plato in race three – notably also for the famous MG badge on its return to the championship – means he leads the standings as the title race now moves to Donington Park in Leicestershire in a fortnight (14/15 April).

Dave Newsham had qualified on a career-first pole position for the opening race but his Team ES Racing.com Vauxhall Vectra crashed out in a tangle with Plato’s new MG KX Momentum Racing MG6. This enabled Collard’s eBay Motors BMW to sneak through for victory. Finishing second and third were Neal’s new Honda Yuasa Racing Team Honda Civic and Collard’s team-mate Tom Onslow-Cole.

Neal then came out on top of a long tussle with Plato to win race two – the first victory for a car built to the BTCC’s latest ‘Next Generation Touring Car’ technical regulations. In fact it was an NGTC ‘1-2-3’ as Andrew Jordan’s Pirtek Racing Honda Civic was second after muscling past Plato’s MG in the closing laps. Meanwhile there was a lucky escape for Nick Foster who rolled his eBay Motors BMW onto its roof.

Plato’s victory in race three – which increased his career record tally of wins to 69 – came after he turned the tables on Jordan by passing him for the lead at mid-distance. Jordan took second ahead of Newsham who, after his race one disappointment, ended the day on a high with a maiden podium result. Significantly the race needed to be re-started after a multiple pile-up shortly after the original start forced a red flag stoppage.

The results mean Oxford’s Plato takes away a slender lead to Donington Park (14/15 April) with Worcestershire’s Neal, Staffordshire’s Jordan and Hampshire’s Collard in hot pursuit.

“We honestly never expected this so soon so we’re all cock-a-hoop,” enthused Plato. “I must take my hat off to my team – I’m just a small part of it all and they have worked their socks off to get this car ready. It’s still way off being fully sorted so I’d imagine the rest of the pit lane is probably feeling a bit scared…”

Neal commented: “It’s great that the new Honda has shown race-winning pace on its debut but I don’t think I’ve started a season before when the competition has been so fierce. The BMWs were on fire and Jason and that MG also look like they might take a bit of catching. We can’t afford to leave any stone unturned.”

Jordan added: “Any other day I’d be very pleased with two seconds but I’m slightly disappointed that the win got away from me in race three – it’s certainly got me fired up for my home event at Donington. The main thing, though, is we’ve come away from the first round with a decent points haul.”

Collard, who backed up his race one win with a pair of sixths, said: “I’m delighted with the win so a bit disappointed to be off the podium in the next two races but at least we’re in the hunt from the off.”

Having dominated 2011’s Manufacturers/Constructors Championship, Honda/Dynamics find themselves trailing MG/888 after Brands Hatch’s three races. And it is Pirtek Racing, thanks to Jordan and team-mate Jeff Smith’s combined efforts, which has stolen an early lead in the HiQ Teams Championship. Jordan and Pirtek also lead the Independent drivers and teams’ standings respectively.

Elsewhere, officials fined Robert Collard (£500) and Jason Plato (£750) and put three penalty points on both drivers’ competitions licences following on-track incidents. The Honda Yuasa Racing Team’s Gordon Shedden was also excluded from race three’s results after his team carried out unauthorised work on his car during a red flag period.