Jason Plato left Croft continuing to feel frustrated with the balance of his car, battling too much oversteer and an unknown engine issue on his way to a first podium finish of the season.
Having qualified in seventh, Plato slipped off the circuit on the first lap of the opening race, dropping him to the rear of the field. A determined drive thereafter saw the double champion make steady progress through the field to claim tenth by the chequered flag.
Race two saw further improvement for Plato to cross the line in sixth, before he ended the weekend with a first podium of the year in third, having only just edged past the Toyota of Rob Austin on the run up to the finish line after a race-long battle.
“I’m pleased obviously, but it doesn’t feel like a weight off my back,” said Plato to TouringCars.Net. “We’ve still got a problem with the car and we don’t know what it is.
“The frustration for me is that my mental attitude is I’m passive, because for the first time in race one I’ve got an oversteering car. I’ve had a hideously understeering car, but now it’s got too much oversteer.
“The boys are saying ‘what shall we do’ and I’m telling them not to touch it, because every time we touch it, the corner entry understeer returns, and that’s not a nice place to be.
“I’ll learn to drive it and I’ll get the best out of it I can, and that’s passive because ordinarily I want to engineer and move the car on, but I’m frightened to touch it.
“We won’t truly understand what’s wrong with it until we do a back-to-back test, and we haven’t done one yet.”
In the final race of the day, Plato struggled to pass the Handy Motorsport Toyota of Austin, even though Subaru team-mate Ash Sutton made light work of getting past earlier in the race.
“I was quicker than Rob in all the corners, but every time I got an overlap we couldn’t make it stick because my engine wasn’t anywhere near as good as his.
“Ash could, but we’ve got an issue with my engine this weekend and for some reason it’s not performing like the other three cars, so we need to understand what that is.
“Likewise, with [Andrew] Jordan, who had more weight than me, I was so much faster than him [in the corners] but I just couldn’t overtake him because I kept on losing distance down the straight. That meant that when we got to the braking areas he was safe.
“We know we’ve got an issue with my motor and we need to understand what that is.”
Plato leaves Croft having increased his points tally to 49 points, moving him into the top half of the drivers’ championship standings.