Plato sets practice pace at Thruxton
Jason Plato hauled his Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra to the top of the timesheets in the final Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship Free Practice session at Thruxton.
Plato – fresh from his exciting battle for victory with Ash Sutton and Rory Butcher last time out at Snetterton – continues to edge closer to his first win of 2019 and the double champion has fired out a warning around the UK’s fastest circuit.
The morning session was run on a slightly damp track following heavy rain overnight, so Plato has proved to be the pace-setter in prime conditions after setting a 1:16.414s lap time, albeit still nearly a second shy of the current qualifying lap record.
“We’re making a bit of progress and finding things with the car – understanding what makes it tick,” said Plato. “We’re getting it as I want it in terms of drive-ability. We’re sussed in the wet but we’re not quite there in the dry.
“There’s things we learned at the Thruxton test, our last visit here and at every round this year that we’ve applied and we’re going in the right direction.”
Team BMW’s Tom Oliphant was looking to top a BTCC session for the first time in his career, before being relegated by Plato late on, but second still represented a good performance from the young 3 Series driver.
Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport endured a challenging first half to the BTCC season but the Mercedes team have had a return to form since the mid-season break. An encouraging summer test at Snetterton was followed by a much better showing at the Norfolk circuit during the race weekend, and Adam Morgan’s pace looks set to continue here at Thruxton.
The Mercedes A-Class man claimed third ahead of Tom Chilton’s Ford and Andrew Jordan’s BMW.
It has been a relatively quiet morning for the AmD-run Hondas of Rory Butcher and Sam Tordoff, but the latter at least fired his Civic Type R into the top six during this session.
Team Toyota GB with Ginsters’ Tom Ingram was seventh as he looks to follow up his Snetterton pole position and race one win with yet another solid haul of points in Hampshire.
The top ten positions were completed by Colin Turkington (Team BMW), Jack Goff (RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport) and Ollie Jackson (Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher).
Qualifying for Round 19 of the 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship will take place at 15:25 and will be streamed live via www.itv.com/btcc.
2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Free Practice 2 – Thruxton
1 Jason PLATO (GBR) Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing 1m16.414s
2 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +0.135s
3 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport +0.241s
4 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +0.319s
5 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) BMW Pirtek Racing +0.406s
6 Sam TORDOFF (GBR) Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance +0.449s
7 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Team Toyota GB with Ginsters +0.466s
8 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +0.532s
9 Jack GOFF (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport +0.559s
10 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +0.667s
11 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +0.680s
12 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance +0.696s
13 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.772s
14 Jake HILL (GBR) TradePriceCars.com +0.871s
15 Rob COLLARD (GBR) Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing +0.888s
16 Bobby THOMPSON (GBR) GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct +0.890s
17 Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Racing +0.901s
18 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +0.930s
19 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +0.942s
20 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +0.982s
21 Daniel ROWBOTTOM (GBR) Cataclean Racing with Ciceley Motorsport +0.982s
22 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker Racing +1.214s
23 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing +1.380s
24 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +1.589s
25 Carl BOARDLEY (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport +1.818s
26 Michael CREES (GBR) GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct +1.933s
27 Mark BLUNDELL (GBR) TradePriceCars.com +2.153s
28 Rob SMITH (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +2.248s
29 Nicolas HAMILTON (GBR) ROKiT Racing with Motorbase +2.350s
30 Sam OSBORNE (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +2.548s