MG KX Momentum ace Jason Plato has zoomed into the lead of the 2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship after two sensational race wins at the opening meeting of the season at Brands Hatch on Sunday.
Crowd favourite Plato took only four laps to hit the front of the first race of the weekend to secure his 75th career victory in the series, and he backed that up with a repeat performance in race two when he led from lights to flag. He finished it off with fifth position in the reversed grid finale and now sits on top of the title points race.
Aside from Plato, one of the other sensations of the weekend was his new KX Akademy team-mate Sam Tordoff, who took a podium finish in his first weekend as part of the factory-backed team. He coolly took a fourth and a fifth place as he got to grips with the MG6 over races one and two and then grabbed a maiden podium finish in the finale. He is third in the points.
Plato said his performance would only get better after the curtain raiser. “After taking two wins and a fifth place I am over the moon,” he said. “It really validates all the hard work we have put in to this programme and I can only see things getting better from here.
“Perhaps the most pleasing aspect for me – aside from Sam’s sensational performance – was the way we dominated the second race of the weekend when we had 45kgs of success ballast on board. That’s something we have worked hard on in testing and it has reaped rewards. That is going to be a huge asset this season.”
Tordoff was thrilled after his weekend’s work, and he says that he has now readjusted his ambitions for the remainder of the year after seeing how he stacked up against the opposition.
“The car was great and Jason proved that in the first two races, but I am just getting more and more comfortable every time I drive it,” said the KX Akademy man. “We would have settled for some top ten finishes and that would have been a good solid start for us. Now, though, we have scored three top five finishes and we have raised the bar. The car is good and I have settled in to the team really well. We have got to be going to Donington Park in three weeks’ time looking for podiums at least.”
As a result of the performance by the two drivers, the KX Momentum squad is leading the manufacturers and teams’ championship.
Team principal Ian Harrison was delighted and he says that the results were down to hard work during the pre-season build up.
Harrison said: “It has been a very good start and it is particularly pleasing to have two frontrunning cars. I couldn’t have asked any more from Sam Tordoff. He was just completely in control and looks like an old pro when he was doing some of these moves on track.
“Jason’s first two races were fantastic. We took a bit of a shot in the dark with the new option tyres in the third race and we have some work to do there, but overall you can’t be upset. We have worked hard and to be able to bring home these results straight away is a validation of the hard work that everyone’s put in to this programme.”
The next meeting of the 2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship takes place at Donington Park on April 21.