Vital to beat Plato in qualifying, says Neal
30 March 2011 – Matt Neal admits that Jason Plato could still be in a prime position as the new British Touring Car seasons begins at Brands Hatch this weekend. Although the reigning Champion will not be powered by a turbocharger, the Chevrolet driver will be helped by a number of other advantages, as Honda’s Neal explains.
“Saturday’s qualifying session could be where it’s won or lost,” the Dynamics man comments. “In qualifying trim over a couple of flying laps, the turbo cars should have as much speed as Jason; come the race, though, we may struggle for consistency as the front tyres are taking quite a lot of punishment.
“Plus, with a normally aspirated-engined car, he still has the luxury of engine braking whereas, with the turbo, all that’s gone. We might have an advantage out of the corners but he’ll come back at us under braking and cornering.”
With the aforementioned facts in mind, the 2005 and 2006 Champion stresses the importance of qualifying:
“If we can qualify ahead of him then, of course, we’ll certainly not be wanting to give up places and around the Brands Indy circuit it is possible to drive a wide car - that might lead to a few spills and thrills for the crowd! But if he’s ahead of us going into the first corner, then we could be in difficulties.”