World » 19 October 2012
Paul Platt, MSA Champion of 2012
"During the season you've been excellent out in front but also when you've been passing traffic, do you think you're not only faster at this stage of your career but also a more rounded driver?"
"The older you get the wiser you get, especially in racecraft. You've got to think, especially when you're racing with people you don't race against as well, three bends ahead, three corners ahead. By the time I've got to the second or third corner ahead of me I've already set myself up for a passing manoeuvre or what I want to do for that corner. Going down the straight I'm thinking three corners ahead so I know which position to put myself in so I can counteract what they're going to do.
I'm quite a good reader of what people are going to do in the race."
"Do you think you've had that ability throughout your career or have you recently developed it?"
"I'd say I probably developed that since '98 when I used to race Super 4. '99, 2000-01 on short circuit. I was good at the driving there and then into the long circuit when I then got the kart set up better. That was a good learning curve for me, the 125 class because it was very close racing. It always kept you on your toes and you always had to think about what might happen. The harder the competition got, especially the MSA class, every day's a school day. You're learning all the time.
One of the things at the Grand Prix this year was when I caught up to Jason Dredge and passed him, I kind of sussed him out. I got up to Louis, he was a bit more of a challenge and didn't want to let me go. I've looked at the footage of the Grand Prix. I passed him twice on the last two laps and down the back straight underneath the Bridge, I thought I passed him but he came back at me because I left the door open.
I've learned that once I've definitely passed someone, I've got to make sure I've shut the door. Don't presume that he won't come back at me."
"You had a new experience going to Le Mans with the twins. How did that come about?"
"I didn't know about that drive until after Thruxton. When we finished and packed away after I'd won the championship, John Riley and my dad came up to me and said, 'You're not going to Croft now.' I said, 'Why?' John said, 'You're going to Le Mans with me to drive one of my twins at the final round of the European championship.'
I was like wow! I could feel the hairs being raised at the back of my neck. I've always wanted to drive a twin cylinder, especially at a European round. To race at Le Mans on the Bugatti circuit, was a fantastic feeling.
We went there for practice day on the Friday. I'd never driven a twin cylinder, I'd never driven an Anderson kart and I'd never driven the circuit. Everything was brand new to me. I'd never sat in the kart until that day.
We took everything back to basics, fiddled about. I had to change my driving style compared to how I drive the 250 single. I'd say it's a cross between driving a 125 and a 250 single. I got quite quick actually to the end of the day. On the free practice before the qualifying I was fourth quickest, which I was very impressed at. During qualifying, I was half a second quicker compared to what I had been at free practice and I was four tenths off the original lap record.
I thought that's got to be fast enough and I wanted to save my tyres for race one. I came in, noticed that the time was ninth quickest. For qualifying two, I put a new set of tyres on for that one to bed them in for race two. I was fifth quickest in that one. So I thought we shouldn't be too bad.
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