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Jason Plato: We haven’t found the ‘sweet spot’ of Vauxhall Astra

Power Maxed Racing’s Jason Plato believes he and team-mate Rob Collard haven’t found the “sweet spot” of the Vauxhall Astra so far in the 2019 British Touring Car Championship.

The double champion, who switched from a rear-wheel drive Subaru Levorg to the Vauxhall Astra this year, was happy with his qualifying result of sixth position despite being hampered at the final chicane on his fastest lap.

He told TouringCars.Net that although the car is improving, he still feels there is more to come for him and Collard, and also believes his race pace tomorrow will be stronger than his qualifying pace.

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“It’s alright, we’re getting better,” said Plato. “We still haven’t found the sweet spot yet in the way I want the car to behave.

“Both myself and Rob actually, we’re not quite there yet. I think there’s a couple of tenths. We’re about a couple of tenths off.

“I should have done a 15.7 – I was on for it and then got stuck behind the BMWs at the chicane whilst they were thinking whether they’ll get another lap or not. It’s just one of those things.

“I should have done a 15.7, which would have put me a couple of tenths off. That’s about where we are at the moment.

“But I think our race pace is better than our qualifying pace I think. We’re in the mix. We might spray some average champagne tomorrow.”

Plato noted the strengths and weaknesses of the Vauxhall Astra around the high-speed Hampshire circuit, with the car looking particularly settled when bouncing over the kerbs at the final chicane.

“That’s one of the benefits of this setup that the team have been working on last year and we’re carrying through this year,” he said.

“It’s a bit different to how I would normally have the car set up – both myself and Rob actually – it has some benefits.

“Likewise on the flipside it’s also got some areas where it’s not quite doing what I want it to do. So we just need to refine that a bit. At some point we’ll get there.”

With showers predicted from 10am onwards for tomorrow’s trio of races, Plato admits he hopes it “hoofs it down” as he feels he will be “right at the top” in terms of wet pace.

“I hope it hoofs it down, because when it’s been wet we’ve been quick. Arguably right on the top.

“I think we’ve got a better feel for the car in the wet. But we’ll have to see.”

The opening race of the British Touring Car Championship at Thruxton is scheduled to get underway tomorrow at 12:05 BST.

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