Photo gallery: BTCC legend Jason Plato shines at Snetterton
- Credit: copyright: Archant 2014
Crashes and surprise winners made for a dramatic return of the British Tour Car Championship to Snetterton.
Reigning BTCC champion Andrew Jordan was taken to hospital suffering from concussion on day one after a hefty collision with the Riches safety barrier, ruling him out of Saturday's action and Sunday's third race.
'It's been a horrible weekend' said a subdued Jordan at its conclusion. The wheels came off Jordan's meeting when in the damp conditions of the first Free Practice session he locked up his Pirtek Racing Honda's front brakes and spun backwards into the safety barrier.
However Jordan was not cleared by the series medical personnel to take part in qualifying upon returning to the circuit.
Jason Plato took the fight to Colin Turkington by outpacing the championship leader in qualifying to grab pole position while series leader Turkington produced a fine display, considering he was carrying maximum success ballast in his Ebay Motors BMW, to line up alongside Plato's MG6.
Against expectations Plato out-dragged the rear wheel drive BMW of Turkington at the start and was never under threat as he raced to his second victory of the season.
Behind Turkington, Plato's fellow MG6 racer Sam Tordoff ran wide at the opening corner with a brake issue leaving Alain Menu at the head of a snarling pack.
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Approaching mid-distance Matt Neal forced his way into third while Adam Morgan weaved through the cars who were bouncing off each other to jump from seventh to fourth.
Turkington's nearest challenger, Gordon Shedden, could do no better than seventh with his Honda Civic Tourer and therefore fell 15 points in arrears while Tom Ingram's race finished in dramatic fashion when his Toyota Avensis lost a wheel on the final lap putting him into the safety barriers.
As for Jordan he started from the pit lane behind 30 other cars and inherited 16th place on the final lap when Ingram crashed out.
Plato didn't have to wait long for his third victory after passing the fast starting Turkington on the ninth lap of race two.
In a reversal of fortune from the first race Plato's front wheel drive MG6 lost out to Turkington's BMW but the race was quickly nullified after Menu clipped the front of Morgan and the Swiss ended his race nose first into the Riches barriers.
Turkington held the lead away from the restart but when Plato appeared alongside at Montreal he gave ground but not his desire to win as in the closing lap he plied pressure on Plato to no avail.
Shedden finished third just ahead of his team mate Neal while Jordon's nightmare continued when he survived a high-speed spin at Brundle while disputing ninth place to finish a lowly 15th and was denied a third start when Doctors ruled him out after he collapsed when exiting his car.
Drawn on pole positon for race three Smith didn't let his lead slip despite intense pressure from both Fabrizio Giovanardi and Mat Jackson. Jackson displaced his Airwaves Ford Focus team mate for second at mid distance while Neal half spin at Montreal promoting Turkington and allowing Plato to pounce to grab fifth.
On the final lap Giovanardi slipped up at the Bomb Hole with Turkington and Plato profiting within sight of the chequered flag.
With three victories for the front wheel drive brigade and Turkington's rear drive BMW extending his championship over Shedden to 23 points it was honours even in the propulsion debate.