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Jason Plato delighted with first podium of the season

Jason Plato was left elated after he claimed a first podium of the season during the opening contest at Oulton Park, also his first behind the wheel of the Subaru Levorg GT.

Although team-mate Colin Turkington claimed a historic first win for the marque in race one, Plato arguably produced the most exciting on-track action through his battles with Daniel Lloyd and then defending champion Gordon Shedden en route to third position at the chequered flag.

A strong start from sixth on the grid elevated the double champion into the top five early on in proceedings and from there he worked his way consistently forward, passing Lloyd into Island hairpin at roughly half-distance with a tap to force the Type-R slightly off line before completing the move into the chicane.

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He then played a game of cat-and-mouse with Shedden for the majority of the remaining race distance before eventually passing the works Honda into Old Hall with three tours of the circuit remaining to seal a first podium finish.

Commenting after the dust had settled around the 2.2 mile Cheshire circuit, Plato was pleased with the performance and hoped the spectacle had been equally satisfying for the fans.

“It was a great race,” said Plato.

“I had to get past, I couldn’t let the stinker get the last podium place! But it was a good battle and I hope it was ace to watch, or as great to watch as it was to drive it.”

Despite the groundbreaking first results for the Levorg GT, Plato admitted that it doesn’t change the dynamics of this year’s championship battle as he and Silverline Subaru BMR Racing continue to chase performance, not silverware.

“It doesn’t really make any difference on the championship, we’re too far behind. This is our development year, of course we want to win more races [and] get more podiums.”

He did, however, point to the 2017 series as the time for him and BMR to make a full-blooded return to the front-running action as he bids to equal long-term rival Matt Neal on three championship titles, among others.

“Our target is next year, we’re trying to get all the planets aligned, sometimes this year we might take a gamble on setup but at the moment we’ve found the sweet spot – we’ve got to try and stay in it.”

“It’s work in progress, we’ve still got a long way to go but I think we’ve shown that we’re close.”

Plato will now start the second race, which gets underway on ITV4 at 14:45, with success ballast on board his car for the first time since it’s introduction, throwing another interesting plot line into the mix.

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