Puncture puts paid Plato's championship dreams


 ■Amazing drive at Silverstone, but it isn’t enough ■Silverline Chevrolets take 2nd and 4th in final BTCC race

Jason Plato put in one of the best drives of his career in the second of the 2011 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races at Silverstone, but despite climbing 18 places it wasn’t enough to secure the championship title for the Oxford-based ace.A puncture on lap 11 of the first of the day’s three races jeopardised the reigning champion’s chances, despite a remarkable comeback over the past two meetings at Brands Hatch and Rockingham.Plato gave it his best shot, climbing from 25th on the grid to reach an astonishing 7th overall in the second of the day’s races in a bid to keep his dream alive, but his decisive, clinical drive wasn’t enough to beat Matt Neal to the title.“We had some pretty bad luck,” Plato said.  “But that’s racing, and we always knew Silverstone would be difficult as it’s impossible to overtake the turbocharged cars on fast circuits. We know we’ve got a great car and Silverline Chevrolet/RML are the best team in the business, we gave it our best, and we took it to the final meeting – a lot of people weren’t expecting that.”The third of the day’s races folded more in the Silverline Chevrolet team’s favour – the reverse grid system putting Alex MacDowall on pole and JP third on the grid. A slow start from MacDowall saw Tom Chilton take advantage, but he still managed a solid fourth, while Plato gained a place to take the second step on the podium.Plato’s team-mate finished in the points in all of the day’s three races – seventh in Race One and ninth in Race Two – a solid result for the 20-year old Cumbrian.