Despite coming within half a second of his first race victory for Team IHG Rewards Club, Jack Goff admitted he was pleased to concede to Jason Plato and take the runner-up spot on the podium in the first British Touring Car Championship race today at Knockhill, ahead of a fast-charging Colin Turkington.
Goff made a good start from fourth on the grid and initially held station behind WSR team-mate Sam Tordoff during the opening exchanges of the twenty-four lap encounter, before moving past Tordoff on the start-finish straight, and then later relieving Speedworks’ Tom Ingram of second.
A safety car from Warren Scott’s stricken Subaru Levorg GT in the closing stages offered Goff a lifeline to take the fight to Plato up front, the latter of which was celebrating his 500th career start, but ultimately the BMW 125i M-Sport came home 0.503 seconds adrift of the double champion.
Goff admitted exclusively to TouringCars.net shortly after returning to the paddock that he had felt capable of challenging Plato for victory, pointing towards the time he left on the table during qualifying yesterday afternoon as proof that there was more performance left in the car.
“We knew the car would be pretty strong over a race distance, I knew I left a bit on the table yesterday in qualifying. I think we had the legs on Jason [Plato] at the end, we were catching him a little bit.” commented Goff.
“Then the safety car came out and bunched us all up, and it allowed Jason to break away and he was probably pretty determined to win his 500th race, so I was quite happy to take second.”
When Goff relieved team-mate Sam Tordoff, one of a number of championship contenders, of third with around half the race to go, there were some suggestions WSR were employing a strategical change in order to challenge the defensive Ingram in front, before backing the Toyota into Tordoff and allowing both BMW’s to move up onto the podium.
When quizzed, Goff admitted he had put a call through to suggest a similar strategy to the WSR pit-wall, but found himself on the inside of his 27-year old team-mate before getting a response, and pushed forward from there regardless.
“I came on the radio and said ‘do you want me to have a go at Tom [Ingram]?’ and then before I got a reply I got past Sam, so maybe he made it a little bit easier, I don’t know. I got the run on him on the exit of the hairpin and got past,” he explained.
“It was okay; the car feels good and we’ll push forward now for the rest of the day.”
Heading into race two, which gets underway at 14:17, Goff will now carry his heaviest success ballast penalty of the season, with 66 kilograms on board the IHG-backed machine.
He believes this should help with the balance of the car over Knockhill’s many undulating kerbs, but the changes in gradient could prove difficult for the BMW, even with rear-wheel drive.
He tipped in-form Ulsterman Colin Turkington as a threat during the second race, regardless of his increase in ballast.
“It’ll be better over the kerbs maybe, but a bit more sluggish off the corners so we’ll play it by ear, get a good start – Jason’s going to have ballast on as well, Colin’s going to have a bit more ballast, but I think he’ll be quite a danger in this race.”