Jason Plato Q&A

Jason Plato won round 15 of the BTCC and was second in round 16. Going into rounds 17 and 18 at Donington Park, Nick Phillips asked the Vauxhall driver about his title chances and how he fancies tangling with verbal sparring partner, former team-mate, and current BTCC points leader, Alain Menu at Bathurst, Australia's premier motoring event, later in the year

Jason Plato Q&A

I think had we been racing at Thruxton rather than Donington, I would have said almost certainly yes, I've got a mega chance. However, Donington is going to be our Achilles Heel. We don't know how well we're going to go here. We haven't gone well here in the past and I've got 40kg of success ballast, so it's going to be a bit of an uphill struggle. Despite that, the car is going to be very strong at Brands, Oulton and Silverstone [the remaining venues on the BTCC calendar]. I've still got a very good chance, if we can limit the damage here. It's really about Alain [Menu]. If he doesn't have a good meeting here, that's good. It doesn't really matter about the others, because everyone's playing catch-up to him here. If the others catch up to him a bit, that doesn't really matter, as long as he doesn't stomp off and get some more good points. I've still got a very good chance. Certainly for the last god-knows-how-many races I've had the upper hand in the team. In fact pretty much all year I've been the quicker guy both in qualifying and the races. It's just a shame we haven't got two Thruxtons in the calendar, because the car is very, very good there. It's not going to be easy, but it's possible.

No. I just want to win races. If you win a race you get 15 points, which is what I need. Weight considerations are irrelevant. This is the track I didn't really want to have the extra [success ballast] weight for, but I'd still rather have the win and second place at Snetterton than avoid the weight here. I reckon the ballast is worth about half a second here - there's a big hill and three drags out of slow corners, it's got to hurt. The Hondas are quick here, but that's good because if they're up there, they'll take points from the Fords. A Honda win wouldn't do us badly here. As long as the Ford doesn't win then it could be worse.

The car is good in the fast stuff, so at Brands it will be good at Paddock and the Kidney, so-so at Clearways and not so good at Druids, so we've got a good chance at Brands, though it's all about qualifying there, because you can't overtake. Silverstone it will be good, again because it's good in fast corners and at Oulton it's all fast corners, so again it will be good. Donington is the bogey one. If we can get this one over without too much damage on points, I'll be chuffed.

Yeah, absolutely. I signed a two-year deal and I'll be doing this next year.

I think the longer braking distances will help the racing and I don't think it matters if they are five or six seconds a lap slower. Providing you've got world-class drivers in there and good teams, the cars are reliable and there's a big grid, it will be great. Of course we all want to go quicker, have more power and more grip, but it doesn't actually make the racing any more exciting, it's just more fun to drive. So, I can imagine that until we kind of cut our teeth a bit, we might all be whingeing people, saying these aren't fun to drive and all that, but once the first race kicks off and we're fighting for position, it will be as much fun as anything else. As long as there are good drivers and the cars are like they are proposed to be, then I think it will be good.

I'm looking forward to it, and the nice thing is just to be going back to race there. I do feel that there's some unfinished business from 1997. We [Jason and Alain Menu in the Williams-run Renault Laguna] should have won by a country mile, but umm... I'm going to blame Alain, because he went to the press before we went and said he wished I wasn't his team-mate, because he thought I was a car wrecker. So it was quite poignant that he was the one that tossed it off the road, after I'd driven two fantastic stints. In his defence, I will say that I think the car would have broken anyway. So there's unfinished business, and Alain's going down there as well, but he's in a sh****r of a car and I am in the best car on the grid, which is nice. It's just great to be in the works Holden, the crème-de-la-crème car. It's mega, couldn't be better.

A: Exactly, not for Aussie stuff, but because it's a good thing to have on my CV and gives me something tell the Americans about when I go over to the States and try and do NASCAR. It might help.

Yeah, it would be fun. I'd definitely be up for it and I think we should definitely have street race somewhere too. I don't know where. Maybe we should go to Newcastle, because not only could we have a great street race, but fantastic fun in the evening too. I'd love to race round the streets, and I think the crowds would love it too.

Another pole for Tarquini

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