Power Maxed Racing endured a ‘frustrating’ weekend in the British Touring Car Championship at Snetterton, as Dan Lloyd and Jason Plato could only manage one top ten finish between them.
For Plato, confidence was high heading to Norfolk after a trio of top tens, including a podium finish, in the season opener at Thruxton.
However, it would quickly become apparent that Snetterton would not be as easy, as the two-time champion failed to get into the top ten in either of Saturday’s practice sessions, although team-mate Lloyd did manage sixth in the first session.
Plato’s challenges continued into qualifying where he could only manage 18th whilst carrying 57 kg of success ballast for entering the meeting third in the drivers’ standings, with Lloyd at least making it into the top ten shootout and ultimately qualifying in eighth.
Balance issues for Plato in race one meant he took the chequered flag in 17th, having run a couple of places higher at one stage in the race.
Lloyd gained ground at the start on the softer compound tyre, but whilst trying to pass Ollie Jackson for sixth he lost a place and ultimately ended the race in seventh.
That would be as good as it got for the team, as despite running on the soft tyre in race two, Plato slipped back halfway through the race from a high position of 13th, again missing the points in 20th. Lloyd also lost ground and dropped out of the top ten, in particular after contact with Chris Smiley, although the 29-year-old did bag four points for 12th.
With Lloyd missing out on the reverse grid draw for race three he started from 12th and ultimately slipped back to 13th, despite displaying promising pace. Plato’s struggles continued and the 54-year-old was just 18th at the end of the race.
“It’s been a really tough weekend,” said Plato. “We tried a setup on the car for free practice one that we thought was going to work, but unfortunately didn’t, which put us on the back foot for the rest of the weekend really.
“Add in the fact that I had quite a lot of weight on for qualifying, and I was never going to be right up the road.
“Race two started off OK – it made sense from where we were to run the soft compound tyre, but it just didn’t play out how we wanted it to.
“Not a great weekend, but you have them in motorsport, especially when the grid is as competitive as it is this year-we’ll be back at Brands [Hatch] in a couple of weeks and be ready to get out there fighting.”
Lloyd echoed his team-mate’s frustrations but was optimistic about the weekend’s performances which, despite the results, he feels were better than at the season opener.
“Overall it was frustrating, as I know we had the potential to be quicker than we were,” said Lloyd. “In myself, I feel like it was a massive step forward from Thruxton – I feel a lot more confident in the car, like I’m really on top of it now.
“We were struggling with balance issues all weekend, as I was finding the car really snappy, which isn’t what you want on such a long circuit.
“We tried a few things to help the issue and worked out how to use what we had to get the car really sorted.
“Obviously, my position in the last race could’ve been better, but I’ve come away feeling really pleased that we’ve worked out the issue this early in the season.
“I feel my performance was better than the opening round, and I’m feeling much more confident as we head into Brands Hatch.
“I just want to make sure I’m consistently scoring points and pushing towards that race win.”
Looking ahead to the next round at Brands Hatch, Team Principal Adam Weaver was optimistic about the event, given that Plato won the season finale there last time he raced on the circuit in 2019.
“Obviously I would’ve liked us to take home some more silverware, and having scored well at Thruxton, it’s only natural to feel disappointed leaving the circuit without it,” said Weaver.
“Knowing that both Dan and Jason gave it their absolute all confirms for me that we have one of the strongest pairings on the grid, but it also means we need to have a long hard look at our data and the direction we have gone with the setup of the car – I feel we have let them both down to a certain extent.
“However, hearing Dan talking positively about the setup changes following race three means we may find the sweet spot a bit faster than I was starting to fear.
“I know we have a great team and that you learn more from the challenges you face than from success, so as we head to Brands Hatch, we’re buoyed by the fact that Jason won the season finale there in 2019 by some distance, and we’re looking forward to getting stuck in and coming away with trophies, in front of the crowds again.”