Jason Plato wins British Touring Car race one at Rockingham
|By Kevin Turner||Sunday, September 18th 2011, 11:27 GMT|
Jason 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 Retirements: 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