Jason Plato has admitted that, with just nine rounds to go, beating Matt Neal to this year's Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship title is going to take 'a miracle', but insists that he is not going to make life easy for his rival over the final three rounds.

The SEAT driver is 40 points behind Neal and will need to make serious inroads into the Team Halfords pilot's advantage at Knockhill this coming weekend, but knows that his nemesis has a habit of surviving the rough-and-tumble of the BTCC. At Snetterton two weeks ago, Plato won twice to pull 14 points back, but Neal limited the damage after keeping his Honda going despite no fewer than four collisions. He then added a victory in the day's third race to consolidate his lead.

"Even if we have three fab weekends in a row at Knockhill, Brands Hatch and Silverstone, it's still going to need Matt to have a lot of bad luck," Plato, the 2001 series champion, admitted, "His Honda is a tank - it has the ability to be T-boned and drive into the side of you at 70mph and get away with it. I don't wish bad luck on anybody, but that's what it's going to be. It would need a miracle and you can't manufacture those. Right now, I'm not really thinking of the drivers' title - winning the manufacturers' championship for SEAT is the number one priority."

Despite his apparent pessimism, Plato believes the tight, twisty Knockhill circuit could work to his advantage via the SEAT Leon's renowned handling capabilities.

"The end of the lap we can forget - a tight hairpin and then a long hill means we'll lose out up there - so the trick has got to be to get the car working as well as possible around the rest of the lap," he said, "If we can really maximise it, that might, over a complete lap, give us an edge.

"However, unless we qualify on the front row, it's going to be very hard to get in a position to overtake. But, if we really make the car perform as well as we know it can, then we might just be in with a shout..."



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