BMR admits Smith snubbed BTCC team orders to help Plato, Turkington

British Touring Car Championship outfit Team BMR has confirmed driver Aron Smith did deliberately ignore team orders to assist Jason Plato and Colin Turkington during the Brands Hatch title decider

BMR admits Smith snubbed BTCC team orders to help Plato, Turkington

Plato was furious the Irishman did not back the pack up in the opening race, or move aside later on for Plato and the team's other title protagonist Turkington.

In interviews with Autosport and Motorsport News after the race, Plato lambasted Smith while BMR boss Warren Scott said the situation was the result of a "miscommunication" from the team.

However, Team BMR issued a statement on Wednesday evening confirming Smith did ignore a team order in race one - and suggested he was slow to act in the second race as well when Plato was behind him again.

"Lengthy discussions during team meetings over the duration of the weekend took place between management and drivers, and it was agreed when team orders would and should be used," the statement read.

"An agreement was entered into by all parties that when certain scenarios arose, a clear instruction would be given to the drivers by their engineers.

"These instructions were to be actioned without delay.

"During race one, clear instructions were given over the radio to Aron Smith numerous times to assist his team-mates.

"Despite these instructions Aron did not adhere to those team requests, continuing to race and maintain his podium position, and in doing so, taking valuable points away from his team-mates.

"During race two, Aron was again asked numerous times to follow team orders. These requests were eventually complied with."

Speaking live on television in the immediate aftermath of race one Plato claimed Smith had "probably got himself the sack".

The team's statement added: "Team BMR fully acknowledges and indeed understands the frustrations verbalised by Jason Plato, after Team BMR instructions were not directly followed by Aron Smith which cost Colin, Jason and the team the opportunity of scoring vital points."

At the time, Smith insisted to Autosport he did play the team game, but now says he "made a mistake".

"Having looked back on this weekend's races I humbly regret not doing more to help them claim the title that they so definitely deserved," he said in the team statement.

"This year I have seen first-hand all the work that has gone into these cars and I regret allowing a weekend of high emotion and quick decisions to in any way reduce BMR's chances of taking the coveted crown.

"These guys have been a family to me for the last two years and I wish that I had made a few different decisions at the time.

"I made a mistake and I'm only sorry that this time it did not just affect me, but it affected my team mates and the people who worked so hard to get the car in with a fighting chance."

The team says it now considers the matter resolved.

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