Crash.Net BTCC News
EXCLUSIVE Jason Plato – Q&A
6 October 2009
Jason Plato came close to securing a dramatic HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship title at Brands Hatch, joining Dan Eaves as only the second man to win all three races on the same day.
Despite that, Plato was unable to overhaul Colin Turkington in the race for the title and had to settle for second place.
Crash.net spoke to the Racing Silverline man to reflect on the season and look to 2010…
For a programme that wasn't even happening a week before the season started, it's not been a bad year…
Firstly, I'm dead pleased. Colin has won the championship well. But we should have p***ed it if you think of the points we have lost when we have been in a position where we should have won, but hindsight is a wonderful thing.
When you are on the back foot and have to push, you make moves that you then might regret at a later date but there are so many incidents. There was an electrical failure at Knockhill where we would have won – that was 17 points and game over. A puncture at Snetterton where we would have won – 17 points and game over. But you can't look back at these things.
We have done a fantastic job with the lack of preparation we had – there wasn't any to be honest – and it has taken a while to get the car sorted on the tyres. But I'm chuffed with what we have achieved, the guys have worked well and this is a tremendous team. We have done a good job for our sponsors, which is important as we move forwards, and three wins is a great way to finish it.
Has the season exceeded your expectations?
It has a bit, but I always knew [we'd do well], and that is why I took the deal, as I this isn't the way I go about my racing with everything so late. I had the upmost faith and respect for Ray and his team of people and I knew that if we could get up to speed that we would do well. Our pace and professionalism and the fact we have been dominant in the second half of the year is perhaps more than I expected though.
You insisted that you couldn't win the title this weekend and that it was a two horse race, but that weekend was pretty much perfect in terms of how you performed.
You've become only the second man to win all three races in a day – I think there was only a pole and a fastest lap missing…
It has been [perfect], but it shows I was correct – it wasn't my title to win, it was theirs to lose.
Hindsight is wonderful, as you can say I should have done this and should have done that, and if I'd been ahead then I wouldn't have done some of the things I did. But when you are behind, you have to push and try to get yourself forwards as you can't predict you'll take three wins in the final race weekend.
But I'm very satisfied with our season, and I'll say it again, Colin and Team RAC have done a fantastic job. He has gone up a big step now in his career as a driver. He is hard, whereas in the past you could have said he was a little bit soft. He is a proper lad and he deserves it.
Ray [Mallock] has said the Lacetti is a good car but that he would like to bring the Cruze over next year if it was possible. How much would you like to drive one?
Absolutely. There are meetings on Tuesday to try and make it happen. I'm in a good position as we've done a great job for our sponsors and their business models are going well so there is no reason why we can't do at least what we have done this year – but with preparation. But there is a whole bigger picture going on now that Vauxhall are out.
There isn't the Vauxhall/Chevrolet conflict anymore with them pulling out – although Vauxhall has been sold now anyway – so there is a great opportunity to bring Chevrolet in as a manufacturer or to get proper manufacturer support with the Cruze. But there are other things going on as well.
In many ways, this has been a good year after a number of years as a works driver because I have worked harder to bring commercial partners in. In the past it couldn't have happened, as the space on the car wasn't mine to sell, whereas here it is. We have got some great sponsors and have been talking to people who want to be involved so we are in a good position moving forwards – certainly to remain here, which is the number one option at the moment.
However, if Volvo do come to the BTCC, then I have first option on the number one seat there, so there is a lot going on. To come off the last race of the year with three wins, I couldn't have done more to put myself in a plum seat for next year.