Feature race: Plato performs

A typically aggressive performance from Jason Plato netted him a fourth win of the season in the British Touring Car Championship feature race at Donington Park today

Feature race: Plato performs

Plato continued his sprint race war with works Vauxhall team mate Yvan Muller in a race which saw the duo again make contact at least twice.

James Thompson's Egg Sport Astra Coupe led the race from the off, but the poleman was demoted on the second lap when he ran wide at the Old Hairpin and was passed by Plato into Schwantz Curve.

The positions remained static, with Plato leading Thompson and Muller, until the pit stops, after which the trio resumed in the same order. But then the safety car was scrambled after Phil Bennett, in the second Egg Vauxhall, coasted to a halt on the exit of the Melbourne hairpin.

While the marshals phaffed around moving Bennett's car, which was inadvertently damaged when it was pulled into the tow-tractor's wheel(!), Aaron Slight and Steve Soper, who had yet to pit their Peugeots, toured around in the lead.

Away from the restart, Plato left a gap to the 406s to allow himself some breathing space in front. Soper pitted at the end of the next lap, and then the Astra hordes caught Slight. Muller, who had barged his way ahead of Plato into Redgate, was the first to squirm free when he slithered down the inside of Slight into the Esses. Plato was more tactile, pushing the Peugeot out of the way at the Melbourne hairpin where, as he spun round, Slight was whacked by Thompson, damaging the driveshaft and ultimately pulling out of the race.

With Muller in brake trouble, Plato caught back up, making it through by bumping Muller up the rear into the Goddards hairpin with five laps left and then forcing the Frenchman wide over the kerbs. Thompson got through a lap and a half later, but did not have time to catch Plato.

"We made some changes after the sprint race and I must say the car was great," beamed Plato. "Once I got into my rhythm I was able to stretch my legs and pull away from Jimmy, and I knew Yvan would be in trouble with brakes."

Talking of the move on Muller, and the earlier incident at Redgate, Plato said: "Maybe he was having brake problems and stopped a bit too early... It was a little kiss. Tit for tat. It's going to be one of those years - we're still buddies now."

Muller, who also had a power-sapping electrical problem, said: "Er... There were so many overtakes I don't remember! Look at it on the TV and form your opinion..."

Eaves drove his best BTCC race yet to be not far adrift in fourth, although he was lucky that the safety car came out, meaning that a 40-second pit stop (due to a sticking wheelnut) ultimately cost him no time. Soper, having made his stop after the safety car, was a distant fifth.


Mat Jackson, who only turned 20 years old a week ago, took his maiden Production class win, and the first for the GR Motorsport team with its Ford Focus.

Poor old Simon Graves looked set fair for victory, but a worsening electrical misfire slowed his Barwell Honda. The battling Roger Moen (HTML Peugeot) and Jackson went through and, with victory at stake, Jackson redoubled his efforts, making it by on the penultimate lap. It was a great effort from the youngster, who qualified only 10th after his engine lapsed onto three cylinders.

Gavin Pyper dominated the early going before the gearbox failed on his Alfa 156, while championship battlers Simon Harrison and James Kaye both failed to finish - Harrison with overheating brakes and an electrical fault on his Peugeot, Kaye when a brake caliper failed on the Honda, something the team attributed to his 60kg of success ballast.

Jason Plato (Vauxhall Astra Coupe) 30 laps in 57m45.925s
James Thompson (Egg Sport Vauxhall Astra Coupe) 57m47.449s
Yvan Muller (Vauxhall Astra Coupe) 57m50.234s
Dan Eaves (Peugeot 406 Coupe) 57m57.433s
Steve Soper (Peugeot 406 Coupe) 58m23.168s
Thompson 1m43.327s

Mat Jackson (GR Motorsport Ford Focus) 59m04.649s
Roger Moen (HTML Peugeot 306) 59m07.290s
Simon Graves (Barwell Motorsport Honda Accord) 59m24.284s
Dave Allan (Synchro Motorsport Honda Accord) -1 lap
Rick Kraemer (GR Motorsport Ford Focus) -1 lap
Annie Templeton (Techspeed Peugeot 306) -1 lap
Gavin Pyper (GA Janspeed Alfa Romeo 156) 1m47.992s


1 Muller 164
2 Plato 144
3 Thompson 143
4 Bennett 87
5 Soper 51
6 Eaves 48
7 Luby 33
8 Harvey 16
9 Pinkney 14
10 Neal 11


1 Kaye 114
2 Harrison 109
3 Moen 106
4 Jackson 85
5 Pyper 61
6 Howell 56

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