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Plato: “It’s in my interest to have a quick team mate”

Friday, March 29 2013

Double Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Champion Jason Plato will start the 2013 season at Brands Hatch this Easter (30/31 March) amongst the favourites with a much-improved MG. However the 45-year-old is uncharacteristically reserved about his chances.

That doesn't mean he's ruling himself out of the fight. The MG6 appeared just days before the opening round last season, yet was a race winner by the end of the weekend. This launched an attack on the title that lasted until the penultimate race of the year, when wet weather exposed handling issues with the car. A damp winter has therefore been welcomed by the team, ensuring that they should be right on the pace.

"During the winter break we have been working on understanding why we failed to get the MG working as we want in the wet," Jason confirmed. "Progress and definite improvements have been made to our wet set-up, both in terms of performance and drivability."

However he won't be performing any rain dances yet: "We expect to be quick in the dry and still playing catch-up a little in the wet." Nevertheless Jason's record around Brands Hatch is an enviable one. He's grabbed both his titles here, taken three victories in one day and claimed the record for most BTCC race wins.

Also helping his cause is a new team mate this season as Sam Tordoff joins the BTCC. Jason feels that this will benefit the car's development: "He is already showing signs in testing that he will want the same balance characteristics and feelings from the car as me. If we can work together on set-ups then we can double the development pace in the early part of the season."

Sam's inclusion in the team offers a potential threat, for not only was he chosen for Jason's KX Akademy, but he also scored points on a one-off outing for the Triple 8 team back in 2010. "Genuinely, I will assist Sam as much as I can to help him to produce his maximum performance," Jason responds. "It is in my interest to have a quick team mate."

Despite his cautious optimism, it's telling that Jason's focus is very much on his own team and there's little talk of the opposition. This could well mean that they're quietly confident and he feels the biggest threat to his season comes from within MG? Perhaps: "With regard to watching my back…..that's an absolutely vital skill in the BTCC!"

Tickets to the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch on 30/31 March are available from £26, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.