Touring Cars return to Snetterton
After a six week hiatus the British Touring Car Championship resumes at Snetterton this weekend and kicks off the second half of the series with the promise of more panel bashing action packed racing.
The season, so far, has been Jason Plato battling against the Honda trio of Matt Neal, reigning champion Gordon Shedden and Andrew Jordan, who has stepped up to the mark and mixed it with the established stars of the series this year.
Plato has ruled at Snetterton for the past two years, when the 300 layout has been used, and if recent testing is a portent to go on will do so again with his MG6.
'We have had a very good test,' remarked Plato. 'We have achieved good race runs and we understand both the soft tyre and our car development path. If you look at the times we have been up there pretty much all day long.'
However, in both years he and old foe Matt Neal have clashed while a pre race fire dampened Shedden's ardour last year leaving the Honda mounted challenger on the back foot.
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This year Jordan has been able to mix it with the top guns and the youngest has been picking up strong points at every round, in similar fashion to multi champion Neal who heads him in the series by 19 points.
Shedden jointly hold third place with Plato and hopes that he reserve his fireworks for the racing and not, as last year, when his Honda Civic caught fire and he had to quickly vacate his stead via the passenger door.
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The previous round saw the returning Colin Turkington dominate, the former champion showing the ebay Motors BMW is becoming a stronger force with each passing event.
Turkington is currently fifth in the points, just four shy of Shedden and Plato, and while the rear-wheel drive BMW will be smart off the starting grid the multitude of slow to medium speed corners may wreck his tyres quicker than the front wheel drive opposition over a race distance.
Sam Tordoff has proved to be an effective wing man for Plato in the second MG6 and has been taking points from the opposition, something Plato has lacked in recent years which has hampered his recent title challenges.
The Jack Sears Trophy, name after the Ashill farmer and first series champion, has been keenly fought out between the S2000 runners and with James Kaye swapping his VW Golf for a Honda Civic the rest of the runners may find they are chasing after his tailgate.
All of the above points to a Plato benefit and if form is followed then the MG racer could use the Snetterton races as a spring board to his third series title however if the track turns wet or greasy then expect the Honda trio to come to the forefront.
The Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship gets underway with the first of two practice sessions starting at 9.25am on Saturday with racing on Sunday from 12.05pm with race two at 2.35pm and the final at 5.05pm.