Plato leads the pack
SEAT Sport UK’s Jason Plato left Brands Hatch at the top of the championship standings after winning the first two races of the season. The reverse grid system saw him start seventh for the third race and he went on to finish fourth, scoring more valuable points.
“It’s been an excellent weekend”, commented Plato. “There is a very positive feeling at SEAT Sport UK – we’re sharp and there is an extra accuracy to everything we do, and it has shown in our results. Two wins, a fourth and a fastest lap – I couldn’t realistically have hoped for anything better than that. It’s been very competitive out there today, and I think the racing will be very close like that all year.”
The 1.2 mile Brands Hatch Indy circuit clearly suits Plato’s Leon, and with the top fifteen cars and drivers separated by less than a second over the course of the weekend, any suggestions of a SEAT whitewash this year now seem unfounded.
Plato continued, “We were strong here last year. We won five of the six races here. The SEAT Leon loves this place. We’ve been pushed very hard this weekend, which is a great sign for the championship. It’s going to be a very tough, hard-fought series and whoever eventually comes out winner is going to feel very, very proud of themselves. It’s going to be the most competitive year in a long time.”
However, Plato did manage to win race two with a full load of success ballast, showing that the Leon has plenty going for it. The SEAT is the only car among the expected frontrunners to have a season of development behind it, which should hand Plato and teammate Darren Turner an advantage in the early rounds.
“45 kilos of weight in the car does affect it, so we needed to think about that. We made some small damping changes, which helped. In terms of my race car, I had a better car to drive than I did in the first race. It was a bit slower because of the weight, but I was able to Matt and Colin under pressure.”
“I lost my power steering on lap two for about half a lap and I thought I was in real trouble, but then it came back and I found that if I hit the kerbs too hard, then my power steering goes, so we’ve got a bit more work to do.”