Article by Brentwood Gazette: It was a weekend of mixed success and disappointment for Lewis Plato at Donington Park.
The Billericay driver had been hoping for a double win to give him any chance of the Radical SR3 Challenge title, but a broken wishbone at 130mph sent him crashing out of the lead in race one, before he took a dominant race two victory.
Qualifying had gone fairly well, missing pole for the first race by only 0.108 seconds before setting the benchmark on the penultimate lap of session two for the pole time.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Lewis Plato"]"I just got pipped in the first session, but I had an aggressive set-up, it was fast but different. We adjusted it though for the second and I stayed out as the temperature was cooling and it worked as we got pole at the end.[/quote]
It was tight at the start of race one, but Plato led out of Redgate and was soon building a comfortable lead.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Lewis Plato"]I expected Scott Malvern (ex-British Formula Ford Champion) to win this one if I am honest.[/quote]
But Malvern was unable to stay in touch, although still in second.
As Plato plunged down the Craner Curves at 130mph he suddenly had a front wishbone break and the wheel folded in and left him spinning into the wall.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Lewis Plato"]At first I lost the steering, tried to save it but hadn't realised the front wheel had folded. It had been a good start and looking good with a nice gap too.[/quote]
Starting from pole, Plato had a clear run into Redgate as the lights went out to start race two. Although Malvern once again was considered the biggest threat, he was soon in trouble and pulled off after six laps.
But his stranded car brought out the safety car, which wiped out Plato's increasing lead and left James Abbott poised to attack him from the green flag.
As they rounded Goddards and the safety car peeled off, Abbott hit the rear of Plato's car and broke some of the rear body and undertray supports.
Fortunately the car was unaffected and he romped to a victory by well over 11 seconds.
[quote width="auto" align="none" border="#0066cc" color="#0066cc" title="Quoted by Lewis Plato"]I was very happy with that, a good start, got away and even the safety car didn't make a lot of difference. The team did a great job fixing the car, it felt fantastic.[/quote]
The championship concludes at Cadwell Park on October 11 when, barring a disaster for championship leader Belshaw and Keen, Plato should seal second place in this title chase.
Plato's racing season is backed by BML Utility Contractors, M.J.Quinn Integrated Services Ltd and Brookvex Group.
Article and image by the Brentwood Gazette