There were mixed results for the factory-backed Silverline Chevrolet team at Thruxton at the weekend. Reigning champion Jason Plato managed a win in the third race of the day, although his day did not start as strong. Alex MacDowall scored three points finishes despite showing good pace and threatening for a podium finish.
It was a relatively difficult qualifying for the team as Plato could only manage 5th fastest and MacDowall 11th. The high-speed Thruxton circuit was expected to favour the turbo runners and the team were not feeling particularly confident going into race day.
The first race proved to be a bit of a disaster. Plato had been running in fifth position when he suffered a puncture on his nearside front tyre at the Club chicane, spearing him off into the barriers and out of the race. The team would be able to repair his car for the second race but it would also mean a starting position of 19th as well as lost points.
Plato felt that he had been forced to drive in a manner that was hard on his tyres just to keep pace with the turbo cars. “The organisers of the series promised equality, but it was difficult to see that here this morning,” he said. “I had to drive each lap like it was a qualifying lap, and that’s not strictly fair.”
It was also a tough weekend for MacDowall who had been suffering from an illness in the build-up to the race and was racing on antibiotics. He took a 10th place in the first race of the day, driving a fighting race after getting off to a poor start.
The second race was one of the cleanest of the season so far and Plato stormed up to 8th place by the chequered flag. Finishing just in front of him was MacDowall, who also managed to set the fastest lap of the race for an extra bonus point. Crucially, for the final race of the day the Chevrolet’s would start from 2nd and 3rd courtesy of the reverse grid.
Plato got off to a strong start in the final race to jump into the lead before the first corner – a lead he would ultimately not lose despite having to defend hard from Mat Jackson. MacDowall struggled to eighth after losing out several positions later in the race having earlier been challenging for a podium.
Despite taking his third win of the season however, Plato is still not happy with the engine situation.
“It was tough out there today and I think the series organisers have to look long and hard at the disparity between turbo and S2000 cars before the next round,” said Plato. “But it’s great that we still came away from Thruxton with a victory for our fans and for the team.”
Commenting after the races, MacDowall said: “It’s good to have scored in all three races this weekend. Qualifying was really tough and we had to work very hard in the races but the team did a great job as always and we were able to grind out some good results.
“Obviously, we want to be back in the mix at the front for the podiums but the turbos still have a big advantage and we needed a bit more luck this weekend to make that happen,” added MacDowall. “Hopefully at Oulton Park during the next round the Cruze will be able to come into its own.”