Croft Circuit - North Yorkshire, England
Plato Ends Honda Dominance With Pole Position At Croft
Jason Plato has ended Honda’s domination of qualifying in the Dunlop British Touring Car Championship with pole position in his Chevrolet at the Croft circuit in North Yorkshire this afternoon.
Reigning champion Plato set the pole time in 1m24.839s in his Silverline Chevrolet Cruze to grab top spot on the starting grid for the first of tomorrow’s three races. Matt Neal who leads the series was second in his Honda Racing Team Civic and Robert Collard third in his WSR BMW – Collard had looked set for the first pole of his BTCC career until his time was beaten by both Plato and Neal late on.
Raised in Newcastle Plato very much regards Croft as a home circuit and said: “I gave it the full berries there – just how a proper qualifying lap should be. But I’m aware my car has a fair bit less success ballast in it compared to Matt’s so let’s see how things play out tomorrow.
“Matt and I will need to make our cars pretty wide off the line because the BMW’s rear-wheel-drive gives it an advantage at the start and Rob will be feeling punchy.”
Worcestershire racer Neal, like Plato with two BTCC titles already to his name, added: “That was everything we’ve got – I could not have made the car go any quicker in qualifying. I’d prefer it to stay dry tomorrow – in wet conditions our turbo engine will chew up the wet weather tyres more than the normally aspirated cars.”
Collard, from Hampshire, commented: “I’m delighted to be third but still gutted not to get the pole – I really thought we’d got it then. Jason’s right about him and Matt needing wide cars at the start tomorrow – too right I’ll be trying to get past them into the first corner. Rain would be a bit of a saviour for us. I had the car on the ragged edge there in qualifying and can’t do that every lap tomorrow. If it’s wet then the BMW will be much closer to the Hondas and Chevrolets.”
The first of tomorrow’s three BTCC races from Croft takes place at midday. ITV Sport will be broadcasting all the day’s action live from 11.30pm-6.00pm on its ITV4 and ITV4 HD channels as well as online on the www.itv.com website.