Jason Plato has played down his hopes of challenging for the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship title despite securing two wins at Snetterton, claiming his MG is nearing the end of its development curve, whereas the rear-wheel drive BMW still has more to come
Plato was in imperious form all weekend long at Snetterton, the KX Clubcard Fuel Save easing to pole position before taking two victories and a fourth place finish come Sunday.
The MG man's double victory was his first BTCC top step finish since Donington back in April and has seen him ascend to third in the standings, albeit still 43 points off Colin Turkington's comfortable overall lead
However, despite his Snetterton success Plato remains pessimistic about his chances of ousting Turkington from his current championship winning position given he is already extracting the maximum out of his front-wheel drive MG.
“I think the difference is, the races where we scored big last year, we've been beaten by Colin. I think that's where it is,” Plato told Crash.net
. “Certainly I think it's more competitive this year, but all of the FWD runners are nudging towards the end of our development curve.
“There's nothing left in the tank. There are no big gains to come from anyone. If you don't quite nail it in qualifying then you're further down the grid than you would have been last year.
“The second half of the year, four events we'll be good at, Knockhill we won't be competitive and that's prime BMW territory. We still need Colin to have a s*** weekend, we need him to go into the fence and at some point he will because the nature of touring cars.”
Plato has been one of the most vocal drivers regarding the current state of the TOCA regulations, which in turn has prompted a heated debate between the FWD/RWD challengers. Indeed, the two-time BTCC champion again reiterated his point on what he believes is fast becoming a serious situation.
“We're not allowed to change anything,” Plato continues. “Over than a tickle here, tickle there, we've done all that before. We are where we are. We've got a slightly different thought process for the rest of the year in terms of how we move the car. But there are no eureka moments - I wish there was!
“There's so much of the car we're not allowed to change, and if we could, other than the windscreen, we'd throw it in the bin and start again because it's heavily compromised. And what we mustn't forget is that this formula was designed for FWD cars only, RWD were banned, it's only by concession were they allowed back in.
“In the old days where we could do this, that and the other where it would do amazing things to FWD cars, we're not allowed to do that anymore. We're approaching the buffers on what we can change and the next step; well there isn't a next step forward unless they allow us to make changes which would mean a regulation change.
“I still think there's a bit left in the BMW's tank because I think there are still tricks that they have yet to find. But it's not over yet, there's still a long way to go.”
Plato's statements were echoed by Mat Jackson, who feels the racing has become 'stale'
due to the controlled nature of the current regulations.