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Jason Plato: "Oulton Park is a great circuit"

Friday, June 07 2013

Double Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Champion Jason Plato is aiming to regain his lost title lead at Oulton Park this weekend (8/9 June). The MG team leader's Thruxton weekend ended with a puncture whilst he was leading the third race, handing a 1-2 to rivals Honda Racing.

However the multiple racewinner is taking positives from the situation. "I don't think I was expecting it to happen," he said. "Had I won the last race, which I was destined to do, I still would have had the lead, but disappointed to lose it? Actually no, because we lose some weight and we're not far off the championship lead. I guess the pure and simple answer is you want to lead from start to finish but there's always and ebb and flow of the race season and at Thruxton the balls didn't roll in our favour, but probably more important to note is that we didn't ever at any point of the weekend apart from race three, get anywhere near a good setup, so I guess with that in mind we expected to drop a few places."

The Thruxton weekend was also a controversial one, and Jason still feels that he wasn't to blame for the race one clash with rival Gordon Shedden: "I'm still waiting for an apology, to be honest!"

Jason's used to the role of the hunter, but his position in the championship race doesn't change his approach to racing: "In all honesty it doesn't make any difference because when I'm in the car I'm just trying to do the best job I can and whatever the points are, they don't come into your mind at that moment in time. I think it's true to say that if you're a long way off the lead then of course you might drive slightly more aggressively but the big difference is just how comfortable that gap is or how far away you are."

This year Jason has a very capable team mate in Sam Tordoff, who has adapted quickly to the BTCC. The partnership benefits him too: "He's done a very good job, we're working well together, he's good fun to have in the team and he's quick. That's really important, but probably the most important thing is that if Sam doesn't like the same stuff in the car that I don't like, and provided that information is really precise and accurate, then we can start to make big gains with the development with the car. The early signs are he doesn't like the same sort of feeling in the car that I don't like and the inverse of that is true, so I think there's great potential for us to work very well for the remainder of the year."

Heading into Oulton Park he's relishing the fight: "Biggest threat is the usual threat, isn't it? But everybody is the enemy at this stage and as the season narrows the blunderbuss turns into a more precise rifle, and those threats then narrow down as we get nearer the end of the season, but some people have slipped away who aren't a threat in the overall scheme of the championship but the usual suspects are there. Objectives for the weekend? We want to win races.

"Oulton Park is a really beautiful place, it's very picturesque, and you feel like you're racing in a beautiful parkland. All the corners are really very different and very unique, it's a circuit where you can never have the perfect setup and it's one that I believe where the driver can make a bit of a difference. And also it promotes good racing, there's overtaking opportunities all over the place. It's a great circuit, one of the best in the UK."

Tickets for Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park on 8/9 June are available from £13, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.