The MG KX Momentum Racing team is expecting strong races for Rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the British Touring Car Championship after Jason Plato qualified on pole and Andy Neate qualified 12th.
Leaving it to the last minute in qualifying, Plato took his MG6 to its second pole position of the season in only its fourth meeting of the year. The current championship leader claimed pole position in the final seconds of the session with a lap of 1:26.872. His nearest challenger, arch rival Matt Neal, was just 0.077 seconds further back.
“A good day, we’ve learnt a bit more about the car, although it’s not quite where we want it to be yet,” said Plato. “There is inherently good pace though and I’m obviously delighted to be on pole. I’m pretty confident for tomorrow; we’re hoping to be strong and win some races.”
Neate was disappointed to qualify in 12th, despite it being his best performance of the season so far. The 37 year-old enjoyed his strongest outing of the season last year at Oulton Park, recording a career-best result of sixth in the final race of the day as well as it being the only occasion that he has scored points in two races at a meeting.
“The weekend started really well in the greasy conditions of First Practice, to finish in P3 was encouraging,” admitted Neate. “In FP2 when it was still a little slippery, I had an issue under braking and caused some damage to the car, which wasn’t ideal for the crew and meant we weren’t as well prepared for quali as we would have liked. P12 on the grid is a little disappointing, I’d hoped to be higher, but tomorrow is another day.”
Team Principal Ian Harrison admitted that he thought he could have had both of his drivers inside the top ten after Neate had been third and sixth fastest in the first and second free practice sessions respectively.
“A good job by Jason today, he left it right to the last minute, but a pole position is a pole position,” explained Harrison. “I thought Andy was going to be a little further up there today, but his best lap was compromised by traffic at the hairpin, which is a shame. However, he’s got a strong car under him and is driving well, so it should all stack up for him tomorrow with some strong races.”
Round 10 of the 2012 BTCC takes place at 1222 GMT.