Plato on top at Silverstone
Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing’s Jason Plato hit the top during the opening Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship Free Practice session at Silverstone as he edged out title contender Dan Cammish.
Times tumbled as the session progressed with a slightly damp morning eventually giving way to Northamptonshire sunshine, so it was little surprise that Plato left it late to push his Vauxhall Astra to the head of the field.
Cammish’s Honda Civic Type R was pipped by just 0.046s, but the Halfords Yuasa Racing man was happy when looking at the bigger picture.
“It’s nice to be somewhere near the top,” he said. “Everyone is doing their own thing of course and today is all about getting yourself into position. Tomorrow is the important one but we believe the Honda will go well here and at Brands Hatch, so it’s all to play for.
“The circuit has been resurfaced and it’s got some grip. It’s making the car feel really good. It’s very nice to drive around here and it gives you a great feeling in the car. It’s a matter of just doing a lot of housekeeping, bedding in the tyres then working towards a time and qualifying. We’ll see where we get to and it’s nice to start somewhere near the front.
“If I go to Brands in this position then there will be a little more pressure. Sleeping the night before might not then be the easiest thing as you’re playing through every situaton in your mind. If you don’t get the nerves then you’re not invested enough – it’s natural. We’ve got this weekend to get through and put us in that position first.
“Changeable conditions make it a lottery for everyone so I’m hoping for one or the other. Variables are great for fans but as a driver you just want consistent conditions. Fingers crossed it’s dry!”
2017 champion Ash Sutton went third fastest in the final few seconds as the Adrian Flux Subaru Racing driver relegated Matt Neal’s Honda down to fourth. Neal looked particularly racy, however, and the BTCC veteran clearly backed-up Cammish’s belief that the Civic Type R will be a potent weapon around the Silverstone National Circuit.
Andrew Jordan (BMW Pirtek Racing), Tom Ingram (Team Toyota GB with Ginsters) and Rob Collard (Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing) were next in the order – the experienced trio with 52 BTCC wins between them suggests they could be contenders come tomorrow.
The top ten was completed by Senna Proctor, as the Adrian Flux Subaru Racing driver looks to continue his good form from Knockhill last time out, and Team BMW’s Tom Oliphant.
There was one short stoppage during the session when former Formula 1 driver Mark Blundell’s Audi had to be retrieved.
2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Free Practice 1 – Silverstone
1 Jason PLATO (GBR) Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing 57.731s
2 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.046s
3 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +0.119s
4 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.136s
5 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) BMW Pirtek Racing +0.152s
6 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Team Toyota GB with Ginsters +0.315s
7 Rob COLLARD (GBR) Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing +0.318s
8 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport +0.321s
9 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +0.345s
10 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +0.409s
11 Jack GOFF (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport +0.416s
12 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +0.462s
13 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker Racing +0.492s
14 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +0.535s
15 Mike BUSHELL (GBR) Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance +0.585s
16 Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Racing +0.608s
17 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +0.634s
18 Jake HILL (GBR) TradePriceCars.com +0.651s
19 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +0.653s
20 Michael CREES (GBR) GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct +0.686s
21 Daniel ROWBOTTOM (GBR) Cataclean Racing with Ciceley Motorsport +0.711s
22 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance +0.761s
23 Carl BOARDLEY (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport +0.800s
24 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +0.814s
25 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing +0.914s
26 Michael CAINE (GBR) Motorbase Performance +0.955s
27 Bobby THOMPSON (GBR) GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct +0.972s
28 Rob SMITH (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +1.418s
29 Mark BLUNDELL (GBR) TradePriceCars.com +1.437s
30 Sam OSBORNE (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +1.468s