The eyes of the country may have been on Wills and Kate for the first part of the weekend, but there was a plenty of action at Thruxton on Sunday, as the Hampshire Circuit hosted the third meeting of the 2011 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
And there was good reason for the Silverline Chevrolet team to celebrate, though like every good bride, it was a little late in arriving.
Jason Plato drove a perfect race from second on the grid to take victory in the third of the day’s races, after a frustrating start to the day. Meanwhile, his young team mate Alex MacDowall fought off a nasty illness to bring home valuable points for the team in all three races.
The first race of the day proved the performance disparity between normally aspirated and turbocharged cars, adding to controversy over whether or not the cars running turbos should be restricted.
And it took its toll on Plato, who despite driving hard suffered a puncture to his nearside front tyre, leading to a dramatic exit into the tyre wall and yet more bodywork repairs for the hard-working team at RML.
“The organisers of the series promised equality, but it was difficult to see that here this morning,” said Plato. “I had to drive each lap like it was a qualifying lap, and that’s not strictly fair.”
But the team’s fortunes improved in the second of the day’s races, MacDowall building on a solid 10th position in Race One to finish 8th overall, with Plato just ahead in 7th.
But it was Race Three where the Cruzes really shone. Despite the obvious power advantages of the turbocharged cars, Plato drove a perfect race, pulling into the lead straight from the start line and fending off an early challenge from Mat Jackson’s Ford Focus to lead the entire race – proof that every cloud has a Silver-Lining…
“It was tough out there today and I think the series organisers have to look long and hard at the disparity between turbo and S2000 cars before the next round,” added Plato. “But it’s great that we still came away from Thruxton with a victory for our fans and for the team.”
Meanwhile, young gun MacDowall put in another solid performance despite his illness, bringing his Cruze home an impressive 8th overall.
The next meeting of the BTCC takes place at Oulton Park in Cheshire on June 4th-5th, but in the meantime fans can visit the Chevrolet BTCC website at www.chevroletbtcc.co.uk, or follow the team on Facebook at www.facebook.co.uk/chevroletbtcc