Plato takes championship lead with lights-to-flag race two winPosted: October 2, 2011 Filed under: British Touring Cars | Tags: Alex macDowall, Brands Hatch, BTCC 2011, BTCC Brands Hatch, Jason Plato, Mat Jackson, Matt Neal, Paul O'Neill, Tom Onslow-Cole Leave a comment
Jason Plato sensationally turned the standings on its head by taking another comfortable win at Brands Hatch to go seven points clear at the top of the championship.
Starting from the pole position and carrying maximum ballast, Plato again made a perfect start in the baking heat in Kent to lead Mat Jackson around the first lap, with Alex MacDowall following the pair in close competition.
Starting from 18th and 19th on the grid with no ballast, the Hondas of Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden made fantastic progress through the midfield runners in the early stages of the race, Neal crossing the line in 10th after the opening lap.
The pair then set about the WSR pairing, Shedden making a strong dive inside Nick Foster into Westfield on the second lap while Neal dispatched Rob Collard heading into Sheene to move up to ninth place.
Shedden then attacked the BMW driver, and Collard – minus his rear bumper – didn’t fight too hard when the Scot stuck the nose of his Honda up the inside into Clearways.
MacDowall meanwhile lost third place to the Arena Ford of Tom Onslow-Cole, and the ‘Global’ Focus driver chased after Jackson for second while Plato upped the pace at the front.
Plato was never challenged for the rest of the race and went on to claim his 68th win and his eighth of the year to move into the championship lead for the first time since the series came to this track for the season opener.
“It’s turning out to be a fantastic weekend”, said Plato talking to ITV4 afterwards. “We’ve got the car exactly where we want it and I’m a very happy bunny.
“It is just so beautifully set up, it makes my job easy and it does everything I want at the minute. We’ve got the perfect set-up on, and a little bit of misfortune for the Hondas has actually paid divident so yeah, it’s interesting now isn’t it?”
Jackson had to sustain big pressure from Onslow-Cole in the closing laps and defended well to take the second step on the podium, both holding off a hard-charging Paul O’Neill in his Techspeed GoMobile.uk Chevrolet Cruze.
O’Neill’s fourth place came at the expense of the second Silverline Chevy of MacDowall, who had a spectacular engine blow-up at Surtees on the 10th lap while running fourth that left the circuit coated in a mist of smoke.
It was an impressive fightback from the Honda boys as Neal made his way by Andy Neate on lap six thanks to a well-judged cutback move to slide inside the Ford at Druids, while Neate – having one of his best weekends in a long time – made a mistake at the same corner that allowed Shedden through to take eighth.
However both lost their early race pace in the latter stages of the race and Neal dropped away in seventh from the battle for fifth between James Nash and Tom Chilton, which was won by Arena Ford driver Chilton with a lunge into Druids on the last lap.
Plato’s life will be made a lot more difficult in race three however as the top 10 cars will be reversed for race three, meaning WSR’s Nick Foster is given a great opportunity by starting from pole position, ahead of Andy Neate, Sheden, Neal and Nash, while Plato will have to fight from 10th.
Race two results:
1. Jason Plato Chevrolet 23m34.527s
2. Mat Jackson Motorbase Ford + 2.121s
3. Alex MacDowall Chevrolet + 3.091s
4. James Nash Triple 8 Vauxhall + 3.818s
5. Tom Onslow-Cole Arena Ford + 4.574s
6. Paul O’Neill Tech-Speed Chevrolet + 5.019s
7. Tom Chilton Arena Ford + 5.841s
8. Rob Collard WSR BMW + 12.720s
9. Andy Neate Arena Ford + 13.174s
10. Nick Foster WSR BMW + 22.015s
11. Ollie Jackson Triple 8 Vauxhall + 25.027s
12. Michael Caine Motorbase Ford + 31.462s
13. Rob Austin Rob Austin Audi + 32.885s
14. John George Tech-Speed Chevrolet + 33.368s
15. Tony Gilham Geoff Steel BMW + 35.338s
16. Liam Griffin Motorbase Ford + 36.263s
17. Chris Swanwick Rob Austin Audi + 55.514s
18. Matt Neal Honda + 57.918s
19. Gordon Shedden Honda + 1m11.024s
20. Chris James ES Chevrolet + 1m12.716s
21. Tony Hughes Speedworks Toyota + 1m16.324s
22. Martin Byford AmD Volkswagen + 1 lap
23. Tom Boardman Special Tuning SEAT + 1 lap
DNF Frank Wrathall Dynojet Toyota 13laps
DNF Lea Wood Central Honda 9 laps
DNF Dave Newsham Special Tuning SEAT 8 laps
DNF Daniel Welch Welch Proton 6 laps
DNF Jeff Smith Eurotech Vauxhall 3 laps
DNF Andrew Jordan Eurotech Vauxall 0 laps