Jason Plato gains ground in British Touring Car title fight with Brands Hatch victory

Jason Plato took his seventh win of the 2011 British Touring Car season at Brands Hatch this morning as his fellow title contenders hit trouble

Jason Plato gains ground in British Touring Car title fight with Brands Hatch victory

One of Plato's rivals from qualifying, Andrew Jordan, went out before the race even began. Electrical problems meant the Eurotech Vauxhall could not join poleman Plato on the front row.

Jordan's absence allowed Plato to lead comfortably into Paddock as the lights went out, chased by his fast-starting Chevrolet team-mate Alex MacDowall and Matt Neal's Honda Civic.

The top three edged away as James Nash (Triple Eight) led a scrap for fourth that included Mat Jackson's Motorbase Ford Focus, Neal's team-mate Gordon Shedden, Paul O'Neill's Tech-Speed Cruze and Tom Onlsow-Cole in the lead Arena Focus.

Neal shadowed the Cruzes until lap 10 of 15, when the Honda slowed with a left-front puncture. While the pack found a way past the cruising Neal, Jackson slipped past Nash to jump from fifth to third and headed off after the Cruzes.

Shedden had already fallen back when he made a mistake at Graham Hill Bend, but still looked set to finish eighth until he too was struck with a front-left puncture. The rubber problems meant both Hondas finished the race point-less, while Plato took a maximum score to close right up on the duo in the championship standings.

A vibration caused MacDowall to worry about a possible puncture in the closing stages, and he did not fight when Jackson attacked on the run to Clearways on the penultimate tour. The second Cruze nevertheless completed the podium.

Nash took fourth, as Onslow-Cole beat O'Neill in a hard-fought duel to secure fifth. Team-mate Tom Chilton was not far behind in seventh.

Tom Boardman's STR SEAT Leon should have been next, but suffered a puncture on the final tour. That allowed Rob Collard (WSR BMW), who survived a clash with Frank Wrathall that caused damage and ultimately an off for the Dynojet Toyota, to pip Andy Neate's Arena Focus for eighth.

Results - 15 laps: Pos Driver Team/Car Time/Gap 1. Jason Plato Chevrolet 23m34.527s 2. Mat Jackson Motorbase Ford + 2.121s 3. Alex MacDowall Chevrolet + 3.091s 4. James Nash Triple 8 Vauxhall + 3.818s 5. Tom Onslow-Cole Arena Ford + 4.574s 6. Paul O'Neill Tech-Speed Chevrolet + 5.019s 7. Tom Chilton Arena Ford + 5.841s 8. Rob Collard WSR BMW + 12.720s 9. Andy Neate Arena Ford + 13.174s 10. Nick Foster WSR BMW + 22.015s 11. Ollie Jackson Triple 8 Vauxhall + 25.027s 12. Michael Caine Motorbase Ford + 31.462s 13. Rob Austin Rob Austin Audi + 32.885s 14. John George Tech-Speed Chevrolet + 33.368s 15. Tony Gilham Geoff Steel BMW + 35.338s 16. Liam Griffin Motorbase Ford + 36.263s 17. Chris Swanwick Rob Austin Audi + 55.514s 18. Matt Neal Honda + 57.918s 19. Gordon Shedden Honda + 1m11.024s 20. Chris James ES Chevrolet + 1m12.716s 21. Tony Hughes Speedworks Toyota + 1m16.324s 22. Martin Byford AmD Volkswagen + 1 lap 23. Tom Boardman Special Tuning SEAT + 1 lap Retirements: Frank Wrathall Dynojet Toyota 13laps Lea Wood Central Honda 9 laps Dave Newsham Special Tuning SEAT 8 laps Daniel Welch Welch Proton 6 laps Jeff Smith Eurotech Vauxhall 3 laps Andrew Jordan Eurotech Vauxall 0 laps 
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Jason Plato captures pole on Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit
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Brands Hatch race two victory puts Jason Plato in British Touring Car Championship lead

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