Jason Plato closes British Touring Car Championship gap at Snetterton
Jason Plato's promise of more speed from the MG6 in the second half of the British Touring Car season was delivered at a sunny Snetterton with the former champion greatly reducing his deficit to rival Matt Neal.
'We are in good shape for the rest of the season,' said Plato as he left Norfolk just 20 points off the series lead.
Plato and Dave Newsham beat pole man Frank Wrathall into the first corner of the opening race which allowed the MG6 racer to take a comfortable victory. Newsham did have one forlorn attempt to grab the lead but he ran wide at Riches, allowing Wrathall to nip past to secure second place.
'Flash' Gordon Shedden lived up to his moniker when his Honda Civic burst into flames during Saturday practice and gave his team a great deal of work to get the car back into shape for qualifying.
However the engine refused to run cleanly and he failed to register a lap time, leaving the Scot to start last before steadily working his way up to seventh place in the opening event.
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On the penultimate lap of race two Matt Neal bumped leader Plato at Coram, to briefly lead, which he immediately lost at the next corner. The closely following Andrew Jordan took advantage and powered past the two series rivals to record his first victory of the season. 'I needed that,' admitted the young Honda racer.
Plato recovered from the melee to take third place while Neal finished fourth, having taken the place away from Wrathall on the final lap.
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Popular privateer Newsham won race three after passing Lea Wood, who retired out of second place with broken transmission. Plato battled hard to get onto the tail of Shedden, who was third behind Tom Onslow-Coe's BMW before he was excluded for exceeding the regulation turbo boost pressure.
Neal's championship hopes were dented along with the back of his Honda after being punted into a first lap spin by Wrathall. He recovered to eighth, leaving him eight points ahead of Shedden with Plato two further behind.
Oillie Jackson endured a difficult home race, retiring from the first with a broken driveshaft before finishing 15th and 14th in the following two races.
Carl Breeze secure second place in the Ginetta GT Supercup title race at Snetterton as the King's Lynn racer continued his home circuit winning streak for a seventh season.
• Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Race One: 1 Jason Plato (MG6): 2 Frank Wrathall (Toyota Avensis); 3 Andrew Jordan (Honda Civic); 4 Matt Neal (Honda Civic); 5 Daniel Welch (Proton Persona); 6 Tom Onslow-Cole (BMW 320si); 7 Gordon Shedden (Honda Civic); 8 Mat Jackson (Ford Focus); 9 Lea Wood (Vauxhall Vectra); 10 Jeff Smith (Honda Civic).
• Race Two: 1 Andrew Jordan; 2 Gordon Shedden; 3 Jason Plato; 4 Matt Neal; 5 Frank Wrathall; 6 Mat Jackson; 7 Ton Onslow-Coe; 8 Dave Newsham (Vauxhall Vectra); 9 Lea Wood; 10 Aron Smith (Ford Focus).
• Race Three: 1 Dave Newsham; 2 Tom Onslow-Coe; 3 Jason Plato; 4 Mat Jackson; 5 Andrew Jordan; 6 Aron Smith; 7 Frank Wrathall; 8 Matt Neal; 9 Rob Collard (BMW 320si); 10 Adam Morgan (Toyota Avensis).