BTCC: Plato takes Silverstone pole for SEAT

BTCC: Plato takes Silverstone pole for SEAT

Jason Plato set the fastest time in a frantic end to the qualifying session for round six of the British Touring Car Championship. Drivers tried unusual tyre combinations in order to gain an advantage on the damp-but-drying track but in the end...

Jason Plato set the fastest time in a frantic end to the qualifying session for round six of the British Touring Car Championship. Drivers tried unusual tyre combinations in order to gain an advantage on the damp-but-drying track but in the end the session was decided on the final lap with the SEAT Sport UK driver being in the right place at the right time.

Jason Plato.
Photo by Dave Dyer.
"We did our homework and the team performed exceptionally well," said a delighted Plato. "We've got some new updates on the car which only arrived today and they seem to be doing the trick, so a great performance by SEAT Sport UK". Plato, Colin Turkington, Tom Chilton, Yvan Muller and Anthony Reid, all substantially improved on their fastest times on their final laps.

James Thompson, driving with the full 42kg success ballast on his VX Racing Vauxhall Astra Coupe, after his victory in the last round at Brands Hatch, qualified in second place after being one of the first drivers to make a break at the end of the session. He pushed hard throughout the half-hour and survived several twitches and also an off-track excursion at the Abbey hairpin.

Matt Neal also slid off at the Abbey hairpin as he fought with the conditions and various settings on his Computeach Racing with Halfords Honda Civic Type-R on the way to an impressive third place, with a string of fast laps in the drying conditions towards the end of the session to put pressure on Thompson.

Yvan Muller was throwing his VX Racing Vauxhall Astra Coupe around and powersliding around the slower corners in a surprising change to his usual driving style. The Frenchman, who had been quick in the first part of the session, was unable to get on the pace when it mattered and, despite three pitstops to change various settings, ultimately finished down in eighth place.

Kelvin Burt.
Photo by Dave Dyer.
Robert Collard spun off the circuit and into the gravel shortly after going seventh in a fine performance for the Collard Racing Vauxhall Astra Coupe driver. Charlie Butler-Henderson also had a very strong session, running as high as third early on, but the Team Sureterm driver was unable to take full advantage of the drying track and dropped back to twelfth.

Kelvin Burt (Team Sureterm) qualified a disappointing sixteenth on his return to the championship after spending a lot of time in the pitlane and getting only a handful of flying laps, Michael Bentwood also qualified low down the grid, in fifteenth place, as the VX Racing Junior driver was quicker in the damper conditions but faded away when the track dried.

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Series BTCC
Drivers Anthony Reid , Yvan Muller , Tom Chilton , James Thompson , Jason Plato , Kelvin Burt , Colin Turkington , Matt Neal , Robert Collard , Charlie Butler-Henderson , Michael Bentwood