Plato wins again, Turkington seals title
|By Jamie O'Leary||Sunday, October 4th 2009, 16:59 GMT|
Colin Turkington clinched the British Touring Car Championship as Jason Plato won a chaotic final race of the season at Brands Hatch.
Turkington's second place in the race was enough to give the WSR BMW driver his first BTCC title by just five points from Plato, who became only the second man in championship history to win three races in a day.
Fabrizio Giovanardi, who started the race only four points behind Turkington in the title battle, was beaten to the final podium spot by the Arena Ford of Tom Chilton and finished third in the championship as a result, nine points behind Turkington.
A sensational race began with an incredible first lap. Vauxhall polesitter Matt Neal lost the lead to Jonathan Adam's Motorbase BMW at Surtees on the opening lap, but immediately grabbed it back as the pair made contact, sending Adam spinning onto the grass.
Just yards behind, Adam's team-mate Rob Collard was spun into the barriers after contact from Chilton. The chaos allowed Chilton to move into second ahead of Giovanardi and Turkington.
After a number of hairy moments involving the leading pack, Turkington grabbed second from Chilton at Westfield on lap four, swiftly followed through by Giovanardi, as all the while Plato caught the pack, having started eighth on the grid.
Turkington led at Druids on lap nine, elbowing Neal onto the grass at the exit of the corner. Giovanardi made it by too with Plato passing his old rival at Sheene on the same lap.
Plato would be leading by a few corners later. Giovanardi and Turkington hit each other at Clearways, slowing the BMW and Vauxhall out of the corner and allowing Plato to out-drag the pair and drive around the outside of them at Paddock.
After that Plato was never headed as he drove off to his seventh win of the year. Turkington and Giovanardi though, repeated their antics on lap 10, orange BMW squeezing red and white Vauxhall towards the pit wall, allowing Chilton to split the pair.
Behind the main battlers, Neal finished fifth with WSR team-mates Stephen Jelley and Anthony Reid next up, ahead of Adam.
Pos Driver Car Time/Gap 1. Jason Plato Chevrolet 28m48.039s 2. Colin Turkington BMW + 1.465s 3. Tom Chilton Ford + 1.739s 4. Fabrizio Giovanardi Vauxhall + 2.984s 5. Matt Neal Vauxhall + 3.575s 6. Stephen Jelley BMW + 11.102s 7. Anthony Reid BMW + 12.534s 8. Jonathan Adam BMW + 13.840s 9. Gordon Shedden SEAT + 13.944s 10. David Pinkney Honda + 14.137s 11. Mat Jackson Chevrolet + 15.496s 12. Tom Onslow-Cole Ford + 19.659s 13. Matthew Hamilton Honda + 20.725s 14. Johnny Herbert Honda + 1 lap Retirements: Paul O'Neill Honda 7 laps Martyn Bell Honda 6 laps Harry Vaulkhard Chevrolet 6 laps Andrew Jordan Vauxhall 0 laps John George Honda 0 laps Rob Collard BMW 0 laps