MG are chasing glory as the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season reaches its conclusion at Brands Hatch this weekend.
The MG team currently lead Honda in the Manufacturer’s Championship by 28 points with just three rounds of the 2014 season remaining, and know that they have to simply get both cars home safely in the three races in order to take the title.
There is also a chance of success in the Driver’s Championship, albeit an outside one, as Jason Plato chases his third crown. He trails Colin Turkington by 50 points and will need the BMW not to finish in the points in two of the three races to stand any chance making it a double celebration.
Two wins from three was the outcome for the MG/Triple Eight team less than two weeks ago at Silverstone.
After qualifying on pole on the Saturday, Plato was quick to recover from being pipped to the first corner by Championship rival Turkington to take a dominant race win in the first race of the day.
Race two was an almost identical affair, although Plato’s MG6 took even less time to regain the lead to earn a second victory of the afternoon.
Race three was more difficult for the MG team. Sam Tordoff, who had battled hard for fourth and sixth in the first two outings, suffered a race-ending engine failure on the grid before race three. Plato, meanwhile, fought his way from seventh on the grid to a fourth place finish.
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It was a dominant display for the MGs in last season’s trio of races at Brands Hatch.
After a front row lock-out in Saturday’s qualifying, the two MG6 drivers backed that up with a first and third in race one, then a one-two in race two with Plato taking two wins to keep his outside hopes of taking the title alive.
It eventually proved too much as a 10th placed finish in race three handed the title to Andrew Jordan in one of the closest Championship finishes in BTCC history.
With the hope of sealing a first Manufacturer’s title for MG this weekend, as well as still having an outside chance of solo success, Plato was in a philosophical mood when speaking at a Question & Answer session at County MG’s launch event in midweek.
Speaking about the Manufacturer’s Championship, he said: “We’re in good shape – we’re ahead of Honda. I think at Brands Hatch, we’ll be faster than Honda and we could actually win the Championship by running around at the back of the grid – we just need both cars to finish all three races, but obviously we’re not going to do that! We want to be at the front of the grid, winning races.”
On his own hopes of winning a third Driver’s title, he was less optimistic. He added: “Can we win it? It’s highly unlikely. Mathematically, yes we can, but we need some catastrophic bad luck on Colin’s behalf.
“I’m intelligent enough to know that the Driver’s Championship is all but out of reach. Because of that, it’s really crucial that we win this Manufacturer’s Championship.
“I think we’ll be quicker than the Hondas in qualifying, which means we’ve got a good chance of beating them in race one. If we do, I think we can do it in race two. If both of our cars finish ahead of the Hondas in the first two races, then it’s over and done with.”
Saturday 11 October
10.00 – 10.40: BTCC: Free Practice
12.40 – 13.20: BTCC: Free Practice
15.35 – 16.05: BTCC: Qualifying
Sunday 12 October
11.32: BTCC: Round 28 (15 laps)
14.22: BTCC: Round 29 (15 laps)
17.09: BTCC: Round 30 (15 laps)
Saturday's qualifying session will be broadcast live on ITV.com from 3.30pm.
ITV4 will have live coverage of all three of Sunday's races from 10.15am.
2014 BTCC driver standings (after round 27 of 30)
1 Colin Turkington (eBay Motors) 417
2 Jason Plato (MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save) 367
3 Gordon Shedden (Honda Yuasa Racing) 317
4 Mat Jackson (Airwaves Racing) 283
5 Andrew Jordan (Pirtek Racing) 279
6 Rob Collard (eBay Motors) 251
7 Matt Neal (Honda Yuasa Racing) 207
8 Sam Tordoff (MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save) 207
2014 BTCC Manufacturers Championship
1 MG/Triple Eight 846
2 Honda/Dynamics 818
2014 BTCC Teams' Championship
1 eBay Motors 669
2 MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save 564
3 Honda Yuasa Racing 525 maintenance
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