Sprint race: Plato beats Muller in Vauxhall scrap

Jason Plato slipped ahead of works Vauxhall team mate and early race leader Yvan Muller to win the BTCC Sprint race at Thruxton

Sprint race: Plato beats Muller in Vauxhall scrap

Plato and his fellow Astra Coupe drivers also comfortably overcame the near-lap handicap advantage handed to the BTC Production runners under the new combined-class sprint race format. Like most of his fellow drivers, Plato felt the innovation to be a big improvement over the separate sprints run at the series-opening meeting at Brands Hatch.

Muller made the best start as Plato almost stalled, but the two works cars still managed to arrive at the Complex first and second, chased by James Thompson's Team Egg Astra, the two works Peugeots of Steve Soper and Dan Eaves and Phil Bennett's Egg Astra.

Muller and Plato battled hard over the BTCT lead over the early laps, Plato nipping past under braking on lap three and gradually consolidating his place as they worked through the traffic. Thompson harried Muller for second throughout, but was still third at the flag.

Bennett soon passed the Peugeots as Soper and Eaves hit major handling problems. Soper understeered off at the 130mph-plus Church Corner and called it a day when the throttle also stuck open. Eaves soldiered on through two front tyre blow-outs.

"I wouldn't be surprised if we miss the second race," admitted Soper.

Kurt Luby in the Lexus and Dave Pinkney in the Alfa 147 battled merrily for much of the race until the Lexus stopped with a suspected fuel pump problem, leaving Pinkney fifth in BTCT. Tom Ferrier's Alfa blew up after two laps.

Simon Harrison won the BTCP class comfortably staying ahead of long-time second place man Paul O'Neill and a deal of hectic panel-bashing mayhem. "We do have all the best shunts in BTCP," quipped Harrison.

O'Neill retired late in the race with a driveshaft problem and Honda men Nick Beaumont and James Kaye emerged from the in-fighting to be second and third.


Jason Plato (Vauxhall T) 20m53.441s
Yvan Muller (Vauxhall T) 20m55.746s
James Thompson (Vauxhall T) 20m56.183s
Phil Bennett (Vauxhall T) 21m01.398s
Simon Harrison (Peugeot P) 21m13.312s
Nick Beaumont (Honda P) 21m19.269s
James Kaye (Honda P) 21m19.509s
Dave Allan (Honda P) 21m35.357s
Jim Edwards Jr (Honda P) 21m39.275s
Mat Jackson (Ford P) 21m48.191s

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