Two-time British Touring Car champion Jason Plato is confident of challenging for race victories at Thruxton after achieving his joint best qualifying effort of the 2019 season in second position.

The Power Maxed Racing driver shot to the top of the timesheets halfway through the 30-minute shootout and came within 0.014s of claiming his first BTCC pole since Knockhill 2017, but ultimately lost out to AmD Tuning's Sam Tordoff.

Plato felt pole position was within his grasp but admitted a small error through Church corner during what could have been his best lap cost him 0.150s.

"I really enjoyed that qualifying session. I was genuinely in the fight for pole," Plato told Crash.net. "I should have had it on my last run.

"I was up on my lap and then a bit too much off. I was 0.150s on my best. I had to choice to bank it or try for more. I tried for more and bit a bit too much off.

"I went in a bit too hard at Church and had a slide on the exit so I arrived at the last half a tenth down. I sent the car again trying to gather it all back and that didn’t work.

"The good thing is that I’ve felt strong since we’ve got going today. FP1 was a waste of time but FP2 was strong."

Starting alongside the AmD Honda of Tordoff, Plato is relishing the chance of fighting for his first win since the 2017 season, but remains wary of the threat the RWD cars could pose behind.

"We’re going to be competitive for sure. The BMWs will come through and be a pain in the arse because they won’t suffer from any degradation," Plato continued.

"The RWDs will start becoming a pain towards the end of the race. The FWD cars will start to eat the front tyres. So the key now is trying to work out how much we have to release the rear of the car to look after the front.

"I’m looking forward to tomorrow. It’s been a good weekend so far so hopefully we can spray some champagne.

"Sam is a great little driver so it will be he who gets his set up right for the race. Historically they [AmD] have been better in qualifying than race trim I think. I fancy my chances."

 

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