Plato Takes Pole in Chaotic Knockhill Qualifying
Submitted on August 25th 2012 16:10 by Michael Passingham.
Jason Plato will start in pole position for Race 1 of the day – Round 19 – in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship tomorrow at Knockhill, with Rob Collard alongside him. The session was interrupted by two red flag situations, allowing the weather to take hold and prevent anybody from improving their times.
A rain shower had finished just minutes before the start of qualifying, so the track was damp, but drying. As Shedden initially set the fastest time a few minutes into the session, it looked as if the rain might hold. Shedden’s fast time was short-lived, however, as it was deleted from screens due to the Scotsman exceeding track limits.
As the track dried, times came tumbling down with Collard and Plato now looking like the drivers to beat. Initially, eBay Motors’ Collard appeared to have the pace but was then beaten by MG KX Momentum Racing’s Jason Plato. At this point the track was more damp than greasy, but a dry line was beginning to emerge.
However, half-way through the session, Robb Holland made a mistake and ended up stuck in the gravel at Scotsman’s corner (turn three). The red flag had to be thrown as a result. At the same time, Tom Onslow-Cole had a major slide into the gravel at the John R Weir Chicane, but made it out unscathed. At the time of the red flag, Jason Plato was on provisional pole and Collard was second.
Three minutes into the six-minute red-flag period, it began to rain lightly at first and two minutes after the green flag flew, the rain became heavier, and most doubted whether any of the times on the board could be improved upon. However, Aron Smith and Paul O’Neill both improved hugely; into third and seventh respectively.
As the session came to a close, there were no major time improvements, and then things came to a halt with both Andy Jordan’s Honda Civic and Adam Morgan’s Toyota Avensis both stranded at the side of the track. The red flag was shown with just 56 seconds of the session remaining, which meant that the session was most certainly over.
Jason Plato took pole with a time of 57.128 which was more than five seconds slower than the dry times from the early-afternoon’s practice sessions. Rob Collard starts second, with Aron Smith in a career-best third. Tom Onslow-Cole managed fourth, completing a successful session for the eBay Motors BMWs. The other championship contenders, Yuasa Honda’s Shedden and Neal, placed sixth and eighth respectively.
For the full classification, click here.
Tomorrow’s race times are as follows: Race 1 – 1145. Race 2 – 1415. Race 3 – 1705. The entire day’s action will be covered on ITV4, and our live Twitter account, @BTCCCrazyLive. Race reports will be linked on @BTCCCrazy.
Photo Credit: Michael Booth