BTCC - A HATRICK OF HARD FOUGHT PODIUMS BY MG KX MOMENTUM TEAM
Race day at Rockingham arrived and the MG KX Momentum team were faced with the prospect of a change in recent fortune as well as changeable weather conditions. A season’s best qualifying session for the team with Jason Plato’s fourth pole of the year and a fifth on the grid for Andy Neate ensured that the drivers came to the circuit hopeful for a good haul of points to set them up for the remainder of the season.
Race One saw pole man Jason Plato take an early advantage over the pursuing field and he developed a commanding lead which enabled him to comfortably control the race and exploit the speed advantage the MG6 had over the rest of the field. Andy Neate’s race wasn’t as straight forward, dropping down a couple of places at the start, which were swiftly taken back over the next couple of laps. Andy carried on in fifth for most of the race, eventually finishing seventh after some battling with championship protagonist Matt Neal and a hard-charging Rob Collard. Plato finished the race 3.3 seconds clear of second place with a seemingly straight forward, lights to flag victory which gave him Pole Position for Race Two.
Race Two was held under relentless heavy rain, giving the drivers something to think about as track conditions all weekend had been bone dry. The start saw Jason Plato take a cautious approach, losing out on a couple of places in the run down to turn one. Andy’s Race Two was short lived, being turned around at the second corner and ending up in the gravel, leaving him with it all to do from the back of the grid in Race Three. Jason stuck at it, clearly using all his experience to find out how to get the best from his car on the slippery Rockingham tarmac, this enabled him to pick up his second podium of the day with third place to add to the points tally of the weekend.
Race Three and the reverse grid saw Plato start from seventh and with a few changes having been made to the MG6, his eyes were on completing a hat-trick of podiums and making further inroads into the championship lead. Andy started from the back after his brief Race Two, and his consistent approach meant he was able to move up to finish fourteenth in the spread out pack. Jason once again was faced with taking the fight to the Honda’s and a late charge in which he set numerous personal best lap times got him side by side through the high-speed turn one with Matt Neal but the move didn’t stick, it was good enough for third though and another good haul of points keeping the championship fight alive.
Jason Plato, MG KX Momentum Racing #99:
“I’m naturally thrilled with three podiums and encouraged by what we have learnt about the car over the course of the day. We leave this weekend almost where we started it - In touching distance of the championship lead and moving onwards to Silverstone and then Brands Hatch I’m confident we are in a strong position to challenge for the crown.”
Andy Neate, MG KX Momentum Racing #44:
“We came to this weekend hopeful for three solid results, qualifying and Race One lived up to the promise but then Race Two was a short lived affair which really damaged chances of getting much from Race Three. I can take the positives of Saturday away from this weekend and am glad I could show my pace and from the teams perspective a good weekend for Jason’s championship challenge.”
Ian Harrison, MG KX Momentum Racing Team Principal:
“A bit of a frustrating day really, if the weather had stayed dry we would certainly have been much stronger as our wet set-up wasn’t quite there in comparison with the Hondas. We leave not having made enough inroads, the championship is still mathematically possible but it’s going to be a tough challenge.”