Jason Plato has counted himself out of the race for the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship title at Brands Hatch and warned current points leader Colin Turkington 'not to drive on his mirrors'.
Plato goes into the season finale with an outside chance of lifting the title, but Turkington's main rival is set to be defending champion Fabrizio Giovanardi - who will need to overhaul a 13 point deficit if he is to secure his third straight crown.
Having already had the experience of lifting the title in 2001, Plato advised Turkington that he couldn't afford to simply drive for points and said he would be pushing as hard as he could; even if he played down his own title hopes.
“It is 100 per cent Colin's for the taking,” the Racing Silverline ace told the official series website BTCC.net
. “At 28 points adrift, I'm out of it so it's Fabrizio that Colin really needs to concentrate on. Fabrizio is still within striking distance. But Colin mustn't fall into the trap of cruising round for points. You have to keep looking forwards and not drive on your mirrors.
“Of course he can't afford to risk a collision if someone's going to take a lunge – neither of them can – and if Colin spots me in his mirrors he'd be a wise man to pull over and let me past because I'm going to be as hard as I can be. Above all, though, he mustn't spend each race looking backwards as that can bring great risks.”
Plato added that he felt Turkington would be a deserving champion is he is able to wrap up the crown on Sunday, with the Northern Irishman looking to add an overall crown to the three Independent titles he has already secured.
“Colin's had the luck this year every driver needs in a title-winning year,” he said. “If he'd been playing cards and holding 19 he'd still draw a two whereas if I've been on 12 I've drawn a ten every time.
“But that is to take nothing away from him. He's really stepped up a level and driven brilliantly all season as his six race wins testify. If he's Champion on Sunday then he really deserves it.”