Plato on verge of BTCC title after race one win at Brands Hatch
BTCC News | Sun 10th October 2010Jason Plato moved a step closer to his second BTCC title with a dominant victory in the first race at Brands Hatch this morning.
Having qualified his Silverline Chevrolet Cruze on pole position, Plato made the best start of the front-runners and would have been relieved to see a healthy gap behind him by the time they started the climb towards Druids.
Matt Neal started second, but it was his Honda Racing teammate, Gordon Shedden, who was the closest to Plato at the end of the first lap. Mat Jackson was up to third for Airwaves BMW, ahead of Neal in fourth.
Shedden was soon under pressure for second from Jackson and Neal. That was great news for Plato, who was able to open up a two-second lead at the front by the end of lap three.
Jackson's hopes of a strong result came to an end when he spun at Surtees on lap eight after taking too much curb on the way into the corner.
The title race went from four to three when Team Aon's Tom Onslow-Cole retired at the exit from Graham Hill Bend on lap nine.
At the front, Shedden started to close on Plato during the middle part of the race, but Plato soon responded and the gap increased once more.
That was it for changes at the front and Plato went on to win for the sixth time this year, taking a huge step towards the title in the process. Shedden and Neal finished second and third respectively to keep themselves in the hunt, mathematically at least.
Alex MacDowall finished the race in fourth, ahead of Rob Collard in fifth, who was also the leading independent finisher.
Sixth place went to Paul O'Neill in the first Sunshine.co.uk Honda Integra. Tom Chilton finished seventh, ahead of James Nash, Andrew Jordan and Tom Boardman.
Race winner Jason Plato said: "The key to that race was getting a good start. I genuinely thought that if I could get a little buffer then I could use the pace of the car to good effect. So it was good to get the gap over Gordon [Shedden] at the start. I settled into a rhythm and he caught me a bit in the middle part of the race, but then I turned up the wick again and I think that was enough. I've got a great car under me and it's been a great start to the weekend so far."