Plato produces flawless drive
Adrian Flux Subaru Racing’s Jason Plato has won Round 19 of the 2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship after producing a flawless drive at Knockhill.
The front four – all rear-wheel drive machines – made an even getaway off the line, meaning Plato led from team-mate Ash Sutton, and the two Team BMWs of Colin Turkington and Rob Collard.
The battle remained tense throughout the 24-lap race with the quartet barely separated by more than a second. The Subaru duo of Plato and Sutton even made a failed attempt to switch positions, in order to provide the latter with a potentially vital championship point for leading a lap, but when the chequered flag eventually fell it was the elder statesman taking a hugely deserved win.
James Cole made it three Levorgs in the top five as he got the better of an eye catching battle with the Speedworks Motorsport Toyota of Tom Ingram. The pair ran side-by-side across the line on lap nine, but Cole would have to wait until three tours later before completing the pass.
Rookie Senna Proctor drove brilliantly to claim seventh for Power Maxed Racing. The Vauxhall Astra man saw off reigning champion Gordon Shedden early on and then clinched his best ever result ahead of Adam Morgan’s Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes.
Triple champion Matt Neal was next up in the order as he made steady progress through the field. His final pass was by Dave Newsham’s BTC Norlin Chevrolet, after both had seen off Shedden’s ballast-laden Honda Civic Type R.
The race was a high class contest throughout with only one minor incident blotting the copywork. Contact between Rob Austin and Brett Smith, following an off-track excursion from Rory Butcher’s Ford, created a minor melee but all were able to recover and finish the encounter.
Jason Plato said: “We found something in qualifying yesterday which we thought about after scratching our heads and it looked like we had a bit of a differential issue. We had a complete change of that unit last night and the car’s a different machine now. We think we’ve found the gremlin. I should have the advantage in the second race as the soft tyre is better in a few key areas. It’s just a shame we couldn’t get that point for switching spots for Ash (Sutton), we tried!”
Ash Sutton said: “Jason (Plato) wanted the win and thoroughly deserved it but I needed the extra point – we swapped and it was a great little bit of teamwork, it was just a pity it didn’t quite work out. He’s had his difficulties with his car this year and my side of the garage has been fine, but it’s nice to come and get a one-two and to lock out the front row in qualifying too – great for Adrian Flux Subaru Racing, phenomenal really. The soft tyre was an advantage but the weight with the ballast does even it out a bit. It’ll be a level playing field again in race two when Jason has the softs and the added weight.”
Colin Turkington said: “I was a bit quicker at the beginning of the race – the BMW switched on really fast. I got the fastest lap and there was a phase where I started to catch Ash (Sutton) but in the mid part of the race I was dropping a couple of tenths, even driving to the limit of my 1 Series. It was always the aim to come here and score points, and with the ballast coming out you’ve got to think we’ll have a good chance in race two. The two guys ahead will race, which is a good thing. Jason’s on the softs so he may tear into the distance but we’ll focus on ourselves. If we can hunt in packs (the Team BMWs), we should be looking good.”
2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Round 19 – Knockhill
1 Jason PLATO (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing 24 laps
2 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +0.216s
3 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +0.902s
4 Rob COLLARD (GBR) Team BMW +1.580s
5 James COLE (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +11.188s
6 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +16.492s
7 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +21.946s
8 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Ciceley Motorsport +28.348s
9 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +29.167s
10 Dave NEWSHAM (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +29.991s
11 Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +33.318s
12 Josh COOK (GBR) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +33.606s
13 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) BMW Pirtek Racing +33.693s
14 Jack GOFF (GBR) Eurotech Racing +35.046s
15 Aron TAYLOR-SMITH (IRL) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +35.497s
16 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +35.963s
17 Ant WHORTON-EALES (GBR) AmDtuning.com with Cobra Exhausts +37.352s
18 Josh PRICE (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +41.054s
19 Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +45.002s
20 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport +45.206s
21 Jake HILL (GBR) TAG Racing +45.409s
22 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing +46.865s
23 Rob AUSTIN (GBR) Handy Motorsport +48.125s
24 Michael EPPS (GBR) Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing +49.114s
25 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo +1.915s
26 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +51.138s
27 Martin DEPPER (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo +53.066s
28 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) AmDtuning.com with Cobra Exhausts +56.011s
29 Will BURNS (GBR) Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing +1 lap
30 Brett SMITH (GBR) Eurotech Racing +1 lap
DNF Mat JACKSON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo +24 laps
DNF Stewart LINES (GBR) Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport +24 laps