Team BMR's Jason Plato doesn't believe he could have extracted any more performance from his Volkswagen CC after qualifying in sixth for the first race of the British Touring Car Championship finale at Brands Hatch.

The double BTCC-champion was 0.348's slower than pole man Mat Jackson but remains within striking distance of his main title rivals Gordon Shedden and team mate Colin Turkington, who both qualified directly ahead in fourth and fifth.

Plato's recent championship charge has been hindered by a mysterious straight-line speed issue and, despite his engines receiving a thorough investigation, the 93-time race winner says the problem still hasn't been cured.

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The Volkswagen CC driver is left questioning whether the problem is lying dormant elsewhere in the car.

"If there was anything left on the table it was only half-a-tenth." Plato told Crash.net "I was on the limit, I was on the ragged edge. We certainly haven't got three-tenths in the car. We might have half-a-tenth. But for some reason we're still slow in a straight-line compared to Colin [Turkington].

"The engines have been checked and apparently their all OK but the data we've got says we're slow. Since Knockhill we've really been scratching our head.

"For some reason, when the engine is in the car, we see a crossover. Even when I come out of the corner 2mph quicker than Colin and I'm on full throttle earlier, I'm still slower at the end of the straight.

"So we're losing time on the straights, maybe a tenth. We need to understand that because at the moment we still don't. Is it something in the gearbox? Is it something to do with the aero? We don't know."

Despite his VW's straight-line speed ailments, Plato says the performance has indeed improved since Silverstone and doesn't believe the issue will cause him too many problems for tomorrow's three races.

"I don't think it will hinder us too much tomorrow because we'll be able to follow people in the tow. We certainly don't appear to be off as much as we were at Silverstone. We've just got to dial the car in for the soft tyre," Plato concluded.