The two new Triple Eight Race Engineering NGTC MG6s had a mixed day on their debut at Brands Hatch for the opening round of the 2012 British Touring Car Championship. Double Champion Jason Plato qualified in 6th for tomorrow’s first race with Andy Neate to line up in 19th.
This morning’s first practice session marked the on track debut for the MGs after they elected not to run in yesterday’s fifteen minute installation lap session at Brands Hatch. Andy Neate and Jason Plato were among the first out in free practice one, finishing the session in 19th and 20th respectively. Andy Neate finished the second practice session in the same position, with Jason Plato climbing up the timesheets to finish in fifth.
Qualifying again saw mixed results for the two Triple Eight team mates, with both having their fastest time disallowed after exceeding the track limits. After running third earlier in the session Jason Plato finished in sixth at the end of qualifying. Neate again finished in 19th, the same position as both of the opening practice sessions.
Jason Plato had the following to say to TcT about qualifying:
“I’m really pleased with the qualifying result, it was the first time we have run the car in anger as we’ve done little testing. The car doesn’t feel very good, I’m not happy with the way it’s working. I’m not confident with it and to be honest I’m a little scared of it in certain places. I’m really encouraged by the result, especially as the boys have worked really hard. I can’t even begin to explain how hard they have worked on it. They were here till 5:30am this morning, even Ian Harrison slept in the truck. No-one is sleeping at the moment so to get sixth is pretty good to be honest and also it makes me feel there is so much more time in the car. We have either done a really good job, which I think an element of that is true, but we are still a mile away from getting it sorted, or the other teams haven’t done a very good job. I’m really pleased. I’ll imagine the rest of the paddock are bit surprised by my time.”
“Tomorrow’s races are just about getting home. We have got power steering problems and all sorts of major issues to sort out. We haven’t done a race run yet, we might destroy our tyres after six laps or we might not. It’s a bit of a voyage into the unknown. The game plan this weekend is to get through the weekend and learn as much about the car as we can so we can try and evolve it.”