HOT WORK FOR RACING SILVERLINE AT OULTON PARK
Jason Plato secured pole position for race one at Oulton Park, in what proved to be a very strong outing for the Chevrolet Lacettis. Mat had held P1 for several laps and as the session came to a close, looked set to claim his first pole position with Racing Silverline, but with minutes to spare, Jason pulled out a blinding lap. Setting a time of 1:27.186, Jason set a new touring car qualifying lap record on the Oulton Island circuit and shaved some 0.411s off Mat's best time of 1:27.597 to clinch pole. The Lacetti's locked out the front grid and promised some enthralling racing.
Speaking after the session, Jason commented, "On the first run we didn't quite get it together, we were a little off the pace. But we knew the time was in the car, we just needed to get a good clean lap. And we knew if we could get the balance right, it would be a strong lap. I'm very pleased with our result, the guys have worked tremendously hard so a big thanks to everyone at Racing Silverline and RML."
Mat added, "Its mega - a great result for Racing Silverline. God knows where Jason found 4 tenths round there! Everyone has worked so hard to get here."
Onto race 1 and the all blue front row was immediately disrupted by the orange BMW of Turkington, who, with rear wheel drive, got past Jason and Mat into Old Hall corner. The Racing Silverline duo found themselves in a relatively steady race, putting down some quick times to secure their positions until Mat suffered a left front puncture, running wide into Druids on lap 14 and subsequently pitting. That scuppered his plans for a points finish putting him back to P19, but similarly to his team-mate, set a lap record during the race on the Oulton Park Island circuit with a time of 1:28.241, proving the Lacetti's pace. Jason drove a strong race, maintaining second position from the first lap to the flag despite a strong challenge from Matt Neal in the VXR's Vauxhall which involved several incidents of contact.
For race 2, Jason started from 2nd position and Mat 19th. Jason made a solid start, but as the early part of the race unfolded, conceded a place to VXR's Giovanardi. The quicker cars of Adam and Neal began bearing down on Jason, who responded with some awesomely defensive driving, making the Lacetti as wide as possible and placing the car perfectly on track to keep his rivals at bay. Lap 14 saw some fantastic close door-to-door racing but Jason kept control and responded to Neal's efforts, holding position. On the final lap and increasingly under pressure from Adam, Neal made an opportunist move on Jason into Island, punting him into the corner but not fazed, Jason continued to fend off the VXR, sustaining minor bodywork damage. Jason took the chequered flag P3.
Disappointingly for the Racing Silverline team, Mat retired on lap 12 with gearbox problems having clawed his way back into the top 10 from the back of the grid.
The draw for race three's grid placed Jason 5th and Mat 18th. As the lights went out, both drivers made clean getaways but Jason lost a couple of places to Turkington and Giovanardi. By lap 4 Mat began his charge into the points, working back through the field and setting the fastest lap of the race en route. Jason also found momentum having avoided an incident at the hairpin involving Adam, Neal and Turkington.
As the race progressed, Jason maintained excellent pace and was a constant threat to Neal, staying on his tail until the final stages, when Collard passed on lap 12, demoting Jason to P5. He took home 29 points from the weekend.
Mat had a busy race, with several scraps mid field and coped incredibly well without his power steering working for most of the race. He finished 8th and took 4 points from the weekend.
Jason is now 4th on the championship standings with 87 points, just 24 points off current championship leader, Neal. Mat is 9th with 41 points.
The next round of the BTCC is at Croft on 13th & 14th June.