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Jason Plato wins British Touring Car race one at Rockingham

Jason Plato wins at RockinghamJason Plato took his sixth British Touring Car victory of the season at Rockingham this morning.

The Chevrolet Cruze driver started from pole and led throughout, despite a safety car period caused by an off by Rob Collard.

Rob Austin's NGTC Audi challenged Paul O'Neill (Tech-Speed Chevrolet) for second on the opening lap, but spun to the back of the field at Pif Paf, leaving the Cruzes clear.

That should also have left James Nash (Triple Eight Vauxhall Vectra) and Matt Neal (Honda Civic) fighting over third, but a concertina affect at Yentwood had already delayed them, and fired title contender Mat Jackson (Motorbase Ford Focus) off the road.

That briefly allowed Andrew Jordan (Eurotech/Pirtek Vauxhall Vectra) into third, but he soon retired with steering issues, probably the result of the bunching on the first lap.

Points leader Gordon Shedden's Honda therefore ran third in the early stages. He looked safe until Frank Wrathall's NGTC Toyota Avensis made it by Nash for fourth and started closing.

Nash then held a group of cars behind him before Neal and Nick Foster's WSR BMW broke free. Neal caught the Shedden-Wrathall fight and briefly made it ahead of the Toyota into fourth before Wrathall retaliated at Tarzan on lap 16 of 18.

Wrathall then dived by the struggling Shedden at Deene on the penultimate tour to secure another podium behind the dominant Chevrolets of Plato and O'Neill.

Neal also found a way by his team-mate, this time at Tarzan, but a feisty Foster followed him through. The BMW pressured Neal over the final lap, but the double champion held on to take fourth and move into the lead of the points race.

Behind the fully-ballasted Shedden, Austin recovered to seventh. He was shadowed home by Tom Boardman, who came through the field well after starting 23rd thanks to a six-place grid penalty for his clash with Plato at Knockhill.

Nash eventually came home ninth, while newcomer Michael Caine scored a point on his BTCC debut in his Motorbase Ford Focus.

Results - 18 laps:

Pos  Driver           Team/Car                 Time/Gap
 1.  Jason Plato      Chevrolet              26m57.428s
 2.  Paul O'Neill     Tech-Speed Chevrolet     + 2.612s
 3.  Frank Wrathall   Dynojet Toyota          + 10.403s
 4.  Matt Neal        Honda                   + 11.440s
 5.  Nick Foster      WSR BMW                 + 11.846s
 6.  Gordon Shedden   Honda                   + 13.832s
 7.  Rob Austin       Rob Austin Audi         + 17.360s
 8.  Tom Boardman     Special Tuning SEAT     + 18.951s
 9.  James Nash       Triple 8 Vauxhall       + 20.777s
10.  Michael Caine    Motorbase Ford          + 21.447s
11.  Andy Neate       Arena Ford              + 22.684s
12.  Alex MacDowall   Chevrolet               + 23.998s
13.  Tom Chilton      Arena Ford              + 24.889s
14.  Jeff Smith       Eurotech Vauxhall       + 25.406s
15.  Tony Gilham      Geoff Steel BMW         + 25.636s
16.  Liam Griffin     Motorbase Ford          + 37.737s
17.  John George      Tech-Speed Chevrolet    + 38.054s
18.  Chris James      ES Chevrolet            + 43.673s
19.  Tom Onslow-Cole  Arena Ford            + 1m08.467s
20.  Martin Byford    AmD Volkswagen            + 1 lap


     Daniel Welch     Welch Proton              11 laps
     Rob Collard      WSR BMW                    6 laps
     Dave Newsham     Special Tuning SEAT        5 laps
     Andrew Jordan    Eurotech Vauxhall          2 laps
     Mat Jackson      Motorbase Ford             0 laps
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Nash resists Austin for first BTCC win
Shedden triumphant in race two
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Plato on Rockingham pole
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