Jason Plato says he has a much better feeling from the chassis of his Subaru Levorg in as he sights a change fortunes this weekend at Oulton Park, the scene for rounds 10, 11 and 12.
Enduring a tough start to the season, the double champion has scored just a single points finish in the nine races staged so far this year.
In truth, all three events have been a rollercoaster for the quartet of Team BMR drivers with Ashley Sutton emerging as the top points scorer so far, sitting just inside the top ten overall.
This time 12 months ago saw Oulton Park prove to be the catalyst to Team BMR’s turnaround as they went onto take a maiden pole position and win with the Subaru Levorg at the Cheshire track; Plato himself wracking up three podium finishes.
Having had to bounce back from a heavy crash at Brands Hatch and using Thruxton as a weekend of development work, the all-time BTCC race winner admits he is now aware of where the deficit between himself and Sutton has been.
Speaking in his Adrian Flux blog, Plato said: “I haven’t forgotten how to drive between October and April, and to be honest I’ve been tearing my hair out.
“We found a problem at Thruxton with the chassis which was a carry over from the shunt at Brands Hatch. It’s a big problem but a very small thing to find. I now know why there’s a 0.5 second gap between me and Ash.
“I’ve struggled since Brands Hatch – I haven’t been able to get the front of the car working like I need it to work. Ash seems to be getting the front of the car working slightly better than the rest of us.
“I’m now going to arrive at Oulton Park with a much better feeling in the chassis, and should be able to get more out of it in qualifying – on current form, with the engine power we have, I should now be mid grid and not at the back.”
Despite having a better feeling in the chassis, the 49-year-old has still stressed that the lack of straight line speed has hampered their chances. For this weekend, BTCC bosses will conduct ongoing turbo boost analysis on the Levorgs.
He added: “We’re still nowhere in a straight line. A Honda can go from back to tenth with maximum ballast and get 500th of a second off pole with 75kg on board, and that doesn’t seem right when we are miles off in a straight line.
“You cannot overtake in touring cars if you are down on power to the car in front, even if it’s 5hp. If you’ve got more power overtaking is easy. As we’ve seen from Honda and BMW, they can roar through the field like a dose of salts.”
PHOTO CREDIT: Jakob Ebrey Photography