Motorsport News - Touring
Plato splashes to Knockhill BTCC pole
25th August 2012
Jason Plato has taken pole position in a wet Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship qualifying session at the Knockhill circuit in Fife.
Plato set a best time of 57.128s in his KX Momentum Racing MG6 to secure pole for the third time this season.
Qualifying second fastest behind Plato was Robert Collard in his eBay Motors BMW while young Irishman Aron Smith was a best-ever third in his Redstone Racing Ford Focus.
But Platos two Honda rivals, Worcestershires Matt Neal and Scottish home hero Gordon Shedden who lay just ahead of him in the title race, could only manage eighth and sixth places.
It means Plato has a golden opportunity to make further inroads into their advantage in the first of tomorrows three races at least. They will go into it with Neal, the reigning Champion, leading the standings with Shedden in second and Plato third. Just ten points cover them with 20 awarded for a win.
Oxfords Plato commented: I had a bit more in reserve if required but the main thing is Im starting from the front tomorrow and the two Hondas have a lot to do. But were looking good in all conditions I was very happy with the car in the dry in the earlier practice sessions so Im feeling good about tomorrow.
Hampshires Collard, currently fifth in the table, said: I gave it everything. Pole would have been very nice but Im satisfied to be starting on the front row which is important here as its a tough circuit to overtake.
Dubliner Smith, aged just 21, added: Ive been chipping away all season and finally Ive got my first top three and it feels great. Im looking forward to tomorrow it's a chance to see how the more established names do it and hopefully I can go with them.
Elsewhere returnee Paul ONeill qualified an excellent seventh fastest in his Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis. Inverness's Dave Newsham was tenth on his home track in his Team ES Racing.com Vauxhall Vectra.
But there were problems for O'Neill's team-mate Adam Morgan who crashed his car at some speed shortly before the end of the session rounding the first bend, Duffus Dip.
It was at the same corner just moments earlier that Andrew Jordan had also pranged his Pirtek Racing Honda Civic, although with considerably less damage. Jordan eventually wound up 11th fastest, his excellent run of qualifying inside the top four in every session this season now at an end Team-mate jeff Smith was 15th after surviving a trip through the gravel trap at the hairpin.
Earlier in the session there had been a brief red flag stoppage to allow marshals to retrieve Robb Hollands Team HARD. Honda Civic which had slithered to a halt in the gravel trap at McIntyres.
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