PLATO SETS OULTON PARK POLE POSITION WITH QUALIFYING RECORD Jason Plato has set an Oulton Park qualifying record to take pole position for the first of tomorrow's three HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship races at the Cheshire ...
PLATO SETS OULTON PARK POLE POSITION WITH QUALIFYING RECORD
Jason Plato has set an Oulton Park qualifying record to take pole position for the first of tomorrow's three HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship races at the Cheshire circuit.
Former Champion Plato, driving a Racing Silverline Chevrolet Lacetti, set a best time of 1m27.186s to achieve the 26th pole position of his BTCC career. Second fastest was his team-mate Mat Jackson - he was 0.411s behind but his achievement means an all Racing Silverline front row for tomorrow's starting grid.
Colin Turkington, in his Team RAC BMW, was third fastest. The Northern Irishman is second in the current standings and with series leader, Worcestershire's Matt Neal, only tenth in his Vauxhall Vectra will surely sense an opportunity to close the 13-point gap between them tomorrow.
Oxford's Plato, aged 41, said: "The car felt fast straight out of the box this morning in practice. It's always great to get pole but to do it at what is still only our fourth event with this car is very satisfying."
Last year's series runner-up Jackson, aged 27 from Henley-in-Arden, Warkwickshire, added: "God knows where Jason found those four tenths of a second. I'll certainly be taking a look at his data. But not bad for an old bloke!"
Meanwhile, Adam Jones was fourth fastest in his Cartridge World Carbon Zero Racing SEAT Leon, while the top six was completed by Airwaves BMW's Jonathan Adam and Neal's VX Racing team-mate Fabrizio Giovanardi, the reigning Champion. Airwaves' Robert Collard, equal third on points with Giovanardi, was ninth.
James Thompson, the 2002 and 2004 title-winner who won twice at Donington Park a fortnight ago, was back in 12th in his Team Dynamics Honda Civic - underlining the competitiveness of the BTCC grid in 2009. Home hero Paul O'Neill, from Widnes, was the 13th fastest of the 21 runners in his Sunshine.co.uk with Tech-Speed Honda Integra.
All three BTCC races from Oulton Park tomorrow will be shown live during a mammoth six-hour live broadcast on the ITV4 channel starting at midday. BTCC title sponsor HiQ will use race day to raise GBP10,000 for its chosen charity Breast Cancer Care with what could become the world's largest ever 'strawberry tea'.