Experience counts as Plato takes the BTCC Pole at Oulton

No one could beat Platos times again (photo by Marc Waller)

No one could beat Platos times again (photo by Marc Waller)Jason Plato has taken his 48th career pole here at Oulton Park but it was close between him, Neal and Priaulx with 0.071 seconds between the three of them.

The top thirteen cars are separated by just over a second!

Plato actually set his fastest time early in the session but then disaster struck when his brakes caught fire in the pitlane. While his car was out of action, his rivals set about trying to beat his time. Matt Neal then went into second just 0.011 seconds behind Plato but that would be as fast as he could go despite trying several more runs. Priaulx looked like he might have a chance of beating Plato and he set the fastest first sector time but his time was slower than Neal’s and he slotted into third. Plato’s car was then fixed as the session entered its closing stages but he couldn’t beat his earlier time.

Andrew Jordan took fourth but he was a bit further back from the three experienced drivers at the front with a gap of 0.432 seconds to Plato. Next up is Shedden who drifted through cascades on his way to an identical time to Jordan. Jordan keeps the position as he got the time first and Shedden is fifth on the grid. Colin Turkington is next up, the 2014 champion still unable to match his team mates time as in the day’s previous sessions. He was followed by his team mate Aron Smith just 0.016 seconds behind him.

Jack Goff is eighth in his MG but he had been as high as fourth early in the session before his car failed a ride height check and he had to do it all again. He couldn’t get close to his original time on his next attempt and so found himself on the fourth row.

Tom Ingram and Adam Morgan completed the top ten. Ingram may have hoped for more after taking second earlier but ninth was still a god result for the Speedworks Toyota driver. Adam Morgan is consistent as usual and makes it in to the top ten 0.014 second behind Ingram.

Neal pushed Plato for pole but ended up second (photo by Marc Waller) Moffat was spectacular but slow (photo by Marc Waller) Priaulx ended up third (photo by Marc Waller) Jordan took fourth (photo by Marc Waller) Shedden was fifth (photo by Marc Waller)

Sam Tordoff just missed out on the top ten in eleventh. Collard in the third WSR run BMW has had a weekend to forget so far and he lines up nineteenth. Martin Depper continues his good day taking twelfth on the grid and he is the last driver under a second off pole.

Dave Newsham took thirteenth just ahead of Power Maxed racing team mate Josh Cook. Mike Bushell makes the top fifteen in his AMD Tuning Focus which was rebuilt after his Thruxton smash, he could move forward from there.

Exocet Alcosense racing’s Rob Austin is sixteenth, a long way down from where he’d hoped to be but his team mate Hunter Abbott had an even worse time to line up down in twenty fourth.

Kieran Gallagher missed the session entirely as it turned out his failure in the second session was a blown engine. Team Hard are trying to source and fit a replacement in time for Sunday’s first race where he’ll have to start last on the grid.

Aron Smith, Daniel Welch and Simon Belcher all lost their best times after exceeding track limits. 

Full times from the session are available from TSL timing.
Tomorrow’s first race looks set to be very exciting with the front of the pack separated by less than a second from pole to twelfth. The entire top six on the grid are all former touring car champions with eleven Touring car (BTCC, ETCC, WTCC) championship wins between them.

Ingram can be proud of ninth (photo by Marc Waller) Goff failed a ride height test and had to set new times (photo by Marc Waller) Aron Smith lost his best times for exceeding track limits (photo by Marc Waller) Adam Morgan stayed consistent (photo by Marc Waller) Bushell was trying hard (photo by Marc Waller)

The race doesn’t start until just after 12:15pm tomorrow giving you plenty of time to come to Oulton Park if you wanted to watch live. Tickets are still available on the gate.

If you can’t make it, you can watch it live on ITV4 as usual. We’ll be reporting from all three races tomorrow. It looks set to be a good day to come to the park! By Marc Waller

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