Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Plato in the Driving Seat; Storming Start to Title Bid Stuns Jason's Rivals

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Plato in the Driving Seat; Storming Start to Title Bid Stuns Jason's Rivals

Article excerpt

Byline: Zoe Burn

JASON Plato sent shockwaves through the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship paddock on Sunday as he left the opening round leading the series in his brand new and virtually untested car.

The two-times champion scored a win, a third and a fourth in Sunday's three races at the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit in Kent despite having completed just a handful of laps at the wheel of his MG KX Momentum Racing machine prior to the seasonopener. The Tyneside-educated star had expected the weekend's event to be little more than a chance to get track time and race miles under his belt as work continues on the development of the new MG6.

However, he now leads the championship by four points ahead of reigning champ Matt Nealand last night admitted he was still trying to get his head around it.

Plato said: "We never expected this so soon, we ae all cock-a-hoop.

"I have to take my hat off to this team, I am just a small part of it and they have worked their socks off to get this car ready."

Plato signed to the new MG KX Momentum Racing team earlier this year to spearhead the MG brand's return to the BTCC for the first time since 2003.

The team's MG6 machines have been built to the championship's latest NGTC regulations by Triple Eight Race Engineering, marking the first time Triple Eight has worked with anything other than Vauxhalls.

Since the car arrived at the factory, the team have been working around the clock to get it race ready.

There has been no official testing, with Plato and Neate enjoying a very brief shakedown of just five laps around Silverstone a fortnight ago, plus a few further laps at a private test last Thursday.

As a result, Plato arrived at Brands Hatch excited about his new challenge but convinced the weekend would be little more than a learning curve and a chance to get some valuable track time.

However, it soon became clear the car was going to be an easy top 10 contender when he qualified sixth fastest on Saturday afternoon for Sunday's opening race. …

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