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Plato surges ahead in second BTCC practice at Snetterton

Saturday, August 11 2012

Jason Plato topped the times in the final Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship free practice session at Snetterton today (Saturday). The MG team leader will enter qualifying today full of confidence as he aims to close the deficit to the Honda Racing pair, and with Gordon Shedden sidelined by an earlier fire, Matt Neal was only able to lap fifth quickest.

The second session got off to a relatively slow start, with Adam Morgan the early pacesetter, albeit lapping at over two minutes, before Neal and Plato got down to business, the latter recording a new fastest BTCC time of 1:57.569 seconds.

Dave Newsham, Daniel Welch and Frank Wrathall joined the front runners, with the former taking Neal's second place in the table as the Honda pitted. He joined Plato in the garages, who was sitting on a lead of almost a second over the rest.

First to challenge Plato's early dominance was Andrew Jordan, taking three tenths out of the gap. The Pirtek Honda driver followed up his form from the earlier session, setting himself up as a contender for victory following a half-season in which he has failed to deliver on the car's winning potential.

Meanwhile Mat Jackson was settling into his new mount, the new NGTC Focus sitting in 14th spot with ten minutes remaining, after having completed half the laps of many of the cars ahead. Understandably the title contender would be spending a lot of the early sessions in the garage whilst a workable set-up is found, so to be a tenth of a second ahead of team mate Aron Smith in the older S2000 car was highly encouraging indeed.

After a lull in the action, Newsham sprang back into action with a time that bettered Jordan's by two tenths, but still trailed Plato by nearly half a second. It was enough to send the MG back out onto the track, especially as Morgan had just moved up to fourth.

However no further improvements were forthcoming and Plato held the early advantage he had gained until the end. Newsham goes into qualifying at 15:15 today in a strong position, whilst Jordan's consistency will encourage him. Morgan and Neal headed eBay Motors pairing Tom Onslow-Cole and Rob Collard, whilst Welch, Rob Austin and Wrathall completed the top ten.

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship Free Practice 2

1, Jason Plato, MG Racing, MG6, 1:57.569s
2, Dave Newsham, Team ES Racing, Vauxhall Vectra, +0.467s
3, Andrew Jordan, Pirtek, Honda Civic, +0.675s
4, Adam Morgan, Speedworks, Toyota Avensis, +0.789s
5, Matt Neal, Honda Racing, Honda Civic, +1.117s
6, Tom Onslow-Cole, eBay Motors, BMW 320si, +1.164s
7, Rob Collard, eBay Motors, BMW 320si, +1.305
8, Daniel Welch, Welch Motorsport, Proton Persona, +1.443s
9, Rob Austin, Rob Austin Racing, Audi A4, +1.666s
10, Frank Wrathall, Dynojet, Toyota Avensis, +1.758s

Tickets for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Snetterton on 11/12 August are available on the gate for £13 on Saturday and £30 on Sunday, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.