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Rockingham: Plato 'thoroughly enjoyed' wet qualifying

Jason Plato excelled in the torrential conditions earlier at Rockingham but the inherit nature of RWD meant negotiating the standing water cost him precious time.
Double British Touring Car Champion Jason Plato hailed the balance of his Subaru Levorg during the torrential conditions in qualifying but admitted the inherit nature of RWD meant negotiating the standing water cost him precious time at Rockingham.

The Silverline Subaru BMR racer qualified his Levorg onto the second row of grid amidst a treacherous thunderstorm which halted the 30 minute shootout midway through the running.

With the visibility rapidly diminishing and the track becoming increasingly waterlogged, Plato commended the timing of the red flag being brought out.

"It was difficult because it was so dark. We couldn't read the road. We couldn't make the call to stop so TOCA did the right thing to red flag it," Plato told Crash.net.

"The lap before they stopped it the water really caught my attention and I aborted the lap – that's when they red flagged it.

"It was a really interesting session. I thoroughly enjoyed it. [The Levorg] is a great car to drive in the wet. It's only the second time I've been in the wet with it and I really enjoyed it."

Plato felt that had there not been such a volume of standing water situated in certain places, a higher grid placing could well have been achievable.

Nevertheless, despite hitting the wall - after 'flirting with the limit - right at the death of the session, Plato was still pleased with his afternoons work during what was only the second time the Levorg has taken to the wet conditions in anger.

"We were so far up for three laps coming out of turn eight but we lost everything at nine and ten because of the standing water. With a FWD car you can go through with power and keep momentum but we can't go through because we lose the rear," Plato continued.

"The other problem is if you lose the rear and you're off the power, you can't do anything. I reckon I lost a second because of that. For the rest of the lap I had good balance and good grip.

"I felt really confident through turn one and had good brakes in turn two but that's ultimately where I went off. I was flirting with the edge of the road there and on the last lap I gave it too much.

"I just dropped the wheel off and went wallop into the tyres and bent the car a bit but that was session over then."

With the weather forecasted to be more settled tomorrow, Plato believes he has the package capable of winning races, whatever the conditions throw up.

"Generally, whatever comes out of the sky, comes out of the sky. The balance is good. We didn't really change much for the wet apart from the roll bars and ride height," said the double champion.

"We can win races tomorrow, wet or dry. In all honesty I don't where we are [in terms of straight-line speed] because we haven't had a race yet. We're going to be great within that Infield section through five, six and seven.

"We'll good on traction coming out of the hairpins and the balance through turn two also good. Our degradation will be less than others as well. It's a shame we're not using the soft tyre."



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