Jason Plato and Matt Neal punished for post-qualifying altercation at Rockingham
|By Kevin Turner||Sunday, September 18th 2011, 09:35 GMT|
British Touring Car rivals Jason Plato and Matt Neal have both been fined, given three points on their licences and handed a suspended grid penalty for their qualifying altercation at Rockingham yesterday.
Plato's Chevrolet Cruze and Neal's Honda Civic hit each other during the final minutes of the session, and there was then an altercation in the pitlane after they got out of their cars.
This morning, both were handed £1000 fines, three points on their licences, and given a suspended six-place grid penalty, which will last for the rest of the 2011 season.
Plato, who was provisionally on pole when the pair clashed on-track, said: "The Hondas didn't want me to come past so they blocked me. I overtook Neal and then [his team-mate] Gordon [Shedden] tried to box me in, so I jinked left, while Matt kept his foot in and hit me - not once, but a few times.
"Onto my qualifying lap I had a big vibration at the left rear at Turn 1, and when I got on the brakes for the second corner it locked up immediately, so I thought I might have damage. I had time for another lap and didn't want to catch Tony Gilham ahead, and then I got to the hairpin and got a massive whack from Matt."
On the pitlane clash, Plato added: "I looked over at Matt, and I gave him the finger to say 'thanks for those hits' and he comes over and assaults me - he had me by my racesuit. I'm really upset."
Neal saw things differently. "He got in front of me and hit me as he came past," he said. "Exiting Turn 1 I got a run on him – I was maybe about eight to 10 car lengths behind – and he stopped on the apex of the hairpin.
"When I got put the car I said 'what the hell are you doing?' and he gave me the bird and the w****r sign."
Plato will start today's first race from pole, with Neal fourth.