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Plato shows his hand in Croft test

Vauxhall's Jason Plato set down his intentions for rounds 13 and 14 of the British Touring Car Championship this weekend by outgunning his rivals in testing at Croft, North Yorkshire, today (Friday). The British ace recorded a time just two tenths of a second off the lap record in his Vectra.

Plato, who was also quickest on one of the pre-season test days at Croft, was closely followed by a pack of Fords, with championship leader Alain Menu only nine hundredths of a second behind in his Mondeo. Rickard Rydell finished third fastest, with fellow Ford driver Anthony Reid fourth.

Said Plato: "I like this circuit. I always enjoy driving here. It's a good flowing track and the sort of track where a driver, and not just the car, can make the difference. Croft also suits the Vectra, as the car is good through high-speed corners. It's like a local circuit for me as I grew up in Newcastle, but I've never won here and I want to put the record straight this weekend."

North Yorkshire-born James Thompson, driving despite suffering burns to his leg during a DTM race in Germany last weekend, was sixth quickest in his Honda Accord. His team-mate Tom Kristensen, fresh from winning Le Mans with Audi, was ninth fastest.

Eighth-quickest Matt Neal was the leading Michelin Cup for Independents runner in his Team Dynamics Nissan Primera.

Alan Morrison, driving a Touring Car VIP Club Peugeot 306, was fastest of the Class B entries in 12th overall.

Croft official BTCC test

Pos Driver Car Time
1 Jason Plato, Vauxhall Vectra, 1m21.241s
2 Alain Menu, Ford Mondeo, 1m21.336s
3 Rickard Rydell, Ford Mondeo, 1m21.482s
4 Anthony Reid, Ford Mondeo, 1m21.622s
5 Gabriele Tarquini, Honda Accord, 1m21.872s
6 James Thompson, Honda Accord, 1m21.910s
7 Vincent Radermecker, Vauxhall Vectra, 1m22.001s
8 Matt Neal*, Nissan Primera GT, 1m22.173s
9 Tom Kristensen, Honda Accord, 1m22.398s
10 Yvan Muller, Vauxhall Vectra, 1m23.134s
Class B
1 Alan Morrison, Peugeot 306 Gti, 1m30.157s

* = Michelin Cup for Independent runner

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