Jason Plato claims his first pole of 2017
(Photo from: www.btcc.net)
Jason Plato claimed his first pole of 2017 and his first since Knockhill last season in a phenomenal qualifying session which saw the man at the top change throughout due to a drying track. In addition to this Plato’s pole, which was also the 50th of his career, ensures that it’s a Team BMR 1, 2 heading into the first race tomorrow.
The session started wet with all drivers on wets however with the sun shining the track was drying continuously which ensured that whoever was over the line last would have a real chance of claiming pole.
In the early stages it looked as though it would have been a front wheel drive dominated session though Ashley Sutton quickly amended that by setting the early pace, remaining on pole from the 25th minute through to the final 5.
During this time the session was stopped twice due to a rogue advertising board at the chicane, firstly with eight minutes gone with the second stoppage occurring with twelve minutes to go. By this time, slicks were the tyre of choice.
Local hero Gordon Shedden was the first to topple Sutton’s dominance of the session, despite a spin for the Subaru driver, in which he claimed provisional pole with five minutes to go.
This time was soon toppled though as Colin Turkington took advantage of the conditions to go pole but teammate Jordan was close behind to take the top spot in the Pirtek liveried BMW.
A whole host a names suddenly appeared with Sutton, Shedden, Turkington, Mat Jackson, Collard and Tom Chilton all seeing their name at the top of the timesheets, trading fastest laps in the final three minutes.
Despite these inconsistencies the championship contenders drivers rose to the top and the battle quickly became between Collard, Sutton, Turkington and Plato. In the final minute all four saw themselves leading though Plato was victorious as he crossed the line last after Ollie Jackson caused a yellow flag at the chicane, ensuring no faster times we able to be set.
Sutton came close behind in second with Turkington third and Collard fourth, ensuring that it is a second row lockout for Team BMW. Tom Ingram finished fifth as the impressive James Cole and birthday boy Senna Proctor finished sixth and seventh. Dave Newsham, Gordon Shedden and Adam Morgan rounded out the top 10.
Plato was clearly happy with his pole though he acknowledged there was a lot more to do once the session was over. Race 1 is due to start at 11:50 tomorrow morning.