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MOTORSPORT: Plato aiming to keep title hopes alive
10:00am Saturday 22nd September 2012 in Sport
Oxford's Jason Plato says his Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship title hopes hang on strong results in all three races at Rockingham tomorrow.
Plato will arrive at the Northants track in his MG KX Momentum Racing MG6 in third place, having lost ground to Honda duo Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden after a disastrous round at Knockhill.
He’s 36 points behind leader Neal, but with a possible maximum of 201 still available from the season’s remaining nine races – three each at Rockingham, Silverstone and Brands Hatch – he is not yet giving up hope.
Plato, eager to deny arch rival Neal a fourth crown with a third title of his own, said: “I can’t wait to get back in the groove at Rockingham. We had awful luck in Scotland.
“Rockingham is such an important event for us. My championship hopes hang on strong results here. The target is simple – we have to win and win we will.”
Plato scored just six points at Knockhill – he was shoved off the track in the first race, suffered a turbo problem in the second and never started the third.
It was a meagre haul compared to his average of 34-plus in the previous seven events.
Team principal Ian Harrison, whose Triple Eight Race Engineering squad prepares the MGs and which boasts an enviable track record – it won six drivers’ titles when running Vauxhall’s factory programme between 2001 and 2009 – is certain there won’t be a repetition.
He commented: “We have put Knockhill behind us and are only looking forward to the last three BTCC weekends.
“We have a lot of ground to make up, but we understand the issues we had at Knockhill which will not affect our performances going forward.”
Standings (top ten): 1 M Neal 287pts, 2 G Shedden 277, 3 J Plato 251, 4 A Jordan 247, 5 R Collard 228, 6 T Onslow-Cole 209, 7 M Jackson 187, 8 D Newsham 146, 9 J Smith 121, 10 F Wrathall 118.
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