Plato heads Subaru one-two
Jason Plato headed an Adrian Flux Subaru Racing one-two in the opening Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship free practice session at Silverstone as he edged out young gun Ash Sutton.
Plato, nearing a remarkable century of BTCC victories, has been in much better form during the second half of the 2017 season, and the Oxfordshire-based racer looks to be a front-runner at his local circuit.
“It’s just slippy out there,” said the BTCC’s most experienced driver. “Through the last two or three laps the track was starting to evolve. There’s a little more grip at Becketts and Copse but the track temperature’s still down. We’re going to struggle tomorrow we think. It is what it is. We make our lap time up through the bends but we will struggle during the races.
“We’re having fun though. We’ve got all of our sponsors here tomorrow and we’ll try to put on a show. Silverstone’s the home of British motorsport and it produces a great atmosphere and what will be three interesting races I’m sure.”
Sutton kept his consistent run going with another solid showing as he looks to maintain his championship lead this weekend, taking his advantage to the finale at Brands Hatch in two weeks time.
Arguably the star of the show was Team HARD-run Michael Epps, who led the way for much of the session in his Volkswagen CC. Epps – in his sophomore season – eventually had to settle for third when the chequered flag fell, but it was an impressive performance on a damp National Circuit.
Senna Proctor (Vauxhall Astra) and Brett Smith (Honda Civic) completed a rather surprising top five line-up as all 32-drivers acclimatised to the circuit and tricky conditions.
Two more familiar faces – in the shape of Rob Collard and Matt Neal – were next in the order, whilst Jack Goff confirmed a good showing for Eurotech Racing by taking eighth.
James Cole’s recent run of good results culminated in a pole position and maiden race win last time out at Rockingham, and the Southport man hauled his Subaru to ninth in the early showing here at Silverstone.
Championship contender Colin Turkington completed the top ten order in his Team BMW 125i M Sport.
2017 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Free Practice 1 – Silverstone
1 Jason PLATO (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing 1m05.739s (89.83mph)
2 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +0.250s
3 Michael EPPS (GBR) TAG Racing +0.264s
4 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +0.286s
5 Brett SMITH (GBR) Eurotech Racing +0.321s
6 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.359s
7 Rob COLLARD (GBR) Team BMW +0.399s
8 Jack GOFF (GBR) Eurotech Racing +0.407s
9 James COLE (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +0.444s
10 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +0.479s
11 Josh COOK (GBR) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +0.487s
12 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport +0.510s
13 Rob AUSTIN (GBR) Handy Motorsport +0.529s
14 Dave NEWSHAM (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +0.555s
15 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) BMW Pirtek Racing +0.566s
16 Stewart LINES (GBR) Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport +0.641s
17 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo +0.698s
18 Mat JACKSON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo +0.712s
19 Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.796s
20 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Ciceley Motorsport +0.820s
21 Martin DEPPER (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo +0.880s
22 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing +0.919s
23 Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Norlin Racing +0.933s
24 Jake HILL (GBR) TAG Racing +0.939s
25 Rob HUFF (GBR) Power Maxed Racing +0.954s
26 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +1.081s
27 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) AmDtuning.com with Cobra Exhausts +1.189s
28 Will BURNS (GBR) Autoaid/RCIB Insurance Racing +1.248s
29 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport +1.254s
30 Ant WHORTON-EALES (GBR) AmDtuning.com with Cobra Exhausts +1.269s
31 Aron TAYLOR-SMITH (IRL) MG Racing RCIB Insurance +1.388s
32 Josh PRICE (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +1.963s