Having yesterday celebrated Jason Plato’s first pole position of the year, breaking
Honda’s dominance in the process, the Silverline Chevrolet team fell out of luck in
today’s three Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races at Croft.
With Jason on pole and series front-runner, Matt Neal in 2nd for the first of today’s
races spectators and teams alike braced themselves for what would doubtless be
an intriguing battle of the titans into turn one, but a nudge from Rob Collard
behind in third knocked Jason into a half spin – the latter skimming the grass in
the Cruze and rejoining the pack in 3rd.
Whilst a third place podium would have provided vital points in Jason’s
championship bid, it wasn’t to be a reality. Having elected to take a daring
strategy of front slicks against the more popular call of full wets, Mat Jackson was
on a charge through the field displaying some impressive car handling skills on a
slippery track and proving his choice to be wise. He just jumped Jason to the final
podium position by the chequered flag.
Alex too was a victim of other people’s tangles, himself being nudged off track
sliding out of position twice during the race, which resulted in a disappointing 14th
place finish, not reflective of the great pace he’d displayed throughout the
Race two fared little better for the Silverline Chevrolet duo, both ultimately ending
in retirements with mechanical problems. Again Jason was running in strong
contention for third position before a broken driveshaft forced the Cruze into early
retirement amidst much disappointment for the team.
Elsewhere on track Alex had been on a flier, progressing through the pack from
15th to as high as 7th when the radio feedback between driver and engineer took a
frustrating twist. On returning to the pits for further inspection the team confirmed
an oil pressure problem was the cause of Alex’s premature race end.
In the final race the Chevrolet Cruzes dominated the show as both Alex and
Jason skilfully mastered their way from the back of the grid to 8th and 11th
Jason: “I’m disappointed with the outcome of today, but there are 15 races left
and we’ve got a great car, which, along with the team, has a lot of potential
especially given the proposed review in the summer break.”
Alex: “It’s been a mixed weekend for me. I was hopeful of some stronger points
finishes given our qualifying performance to be honest, but I was knocked off
track a couple of times so I had to fight my way back through which set me back.
I enjoyed some great racing in that last one, working my way through the field
from 16th on the grid to 8th, which just shows the pace is there. The results aren’t
truly reflective of where I think we should have been today but I’m happy with that
race three comeback and will be raring to go at Snetterton following this sevenweek