Jason Plato continued his record-breaking run of success in the British Touring Car Championship by pushing his career victory tally to 80 with brace of triumphs at Silverstone on Sunday.
Plato led home team-mate Sam Tordoff in the opening race and then repeated the success in the second event in Northamptonshire, while Tordoff came home in fourth in race two. Fully loaded with success ballast in the finale, Plato banked yet more points with a seventh place result. Tordoff was taken off the road by a rival in a controversial incident in race three that is the subject of an on-going sporting appeal.
The strong results meant that Plato was the highest points scorer across the three races and it has set him up for a final push for victories when the championship reaches its showdown at Brands Hatch in two weeks’ time. Although he still has a mathematical chance of lifting a third title, Plato said that his main aim was to keep his winning streak going.
“Winning races is what is important now and that was my main focus at Silverstone. To reach 80 wins in the BTCC is satisfying personally, but what I am also pleased about is that we took our chances when they came,” said Plato. “The car worked well and we really improved its handling in the faster corners. OK, we will have some work to do on the soft option rubber, but we are still making progress all the time.
“We have an outside chance for the championship and I am not going to pass up any opportunity that comes my way, but we are not daft. It is one heck of a long shot,” added Plato. “I am going to Brands Hatch in two weeks’ time with one thing in my mind; there are people trying to win a championship but it is such a distant dream for me. All I can do is go there only to win. Then whatever happens will happen.”
Tordoff was encouraged by his start to the weekend as he lined up alongside Plato on the front row for the opening race, and was pleased to land his fourth career podium in his maiden BTCC season. The Yorkshire driver lost out to some drivers on the quicker soft option Dunlop tyres in race two but still managed to battle home in fourth place.
In race three, he was spun off the track by a rival and the incident is subject to an on-going investigation.
Despite the bitter sweet end to the weekend, Tordoff was happy with his return to the front of the pack. “Qualifying was great,” he explained. “I just got pipped by Jason but we had a great car. The MG KX Momentum MG6 is quick again and we need now to get justice in terms of the accident that I was involved in and then go to Brands and look forward.
“I can get stuck in and mix up the championship fight,” added Tordoff. “Jason has given himself half a shout with his wins at Silverstone, so I will help him if I can.”
MG KX Momentum team boss Ian Harrison said he felt sympathy with Tordoff in the wake of the accident, but he was happy with the pace of the car overall.
“Some of the driving standards in the third race were disgraceful, and Sam was on the tough end of it,” he said. “Senior drivers should know better than the move pulled on Sam. That was a disappointment because we had a great weekend. We had the car hooked up and from the moment we took to the track. It was fast, consistent and everything you want a race car to be. Hats off to Jason for reaching a real milestone in 80 BTCC victories.
“The whole team did a great job over the weekend and it is only by the actions of someone else that we haven’t got the rewards the deserve with Sam. We can’t wait to get back out there at Brands and show what we can do.”
The final round of the British Touring Car Championship takes place at Brands Hatch on October 12/13.