Jason Plato said he was looking to give Tom Onslow-Cole the benefit of the doubt after the pair clashed in the final race of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship meeting at Knockhill.

The weekend had been going to plan for the SEAT Sport UK driver after he qualified on the front row of the grid at the Scottish venue and then took the lead off the line in the opening race after jumping ahead of team-mate Darren Turner.

From that point onwards, Plato led the opening race to the flag ahead of points leader Fabrizio Giovanardi and the 2001 title winner then repeated the feat in race two to lead from lights-to-flag ahead of the Italian.

With the reverse grid draw seeing the top nine reversed for the final race, Plato started in the middle of the pack and found himself battling for position with Onslow-Cole having lost out to the Vauxhall man in the opening laps.

However, on the eighth lap, the pair touched exiting the hairpin as Plato tried to make a move up the inside, with the contact sending the SEAT spearing off into the wall on the outside of the circuit and into retirement.

With Turner taking the race three win, SEAT secured a lock-out of victories at the Fife circuit and while Plato admitted that was good for the team, he was disappointed with how his own race weekend had ended.

"It's been a great weekend for us as I've had two wins and Darren has had the other, so that is fantastic from the front row," Plato reflected to Crash.net afterwards. "We really understand the diesel Leon now, and both myself and Darren have learned how to drive it to get the best from it. From that point of view, it's been a great weekend.

"The third race for me was disappointing but great for Darren. I was stuck behind Tom Onslow-Cole once the race got going and he was driving massively defensively, which I don't have an issue with at all as we all do what we are told to do as paid drivers. He was never going to let me past but if you drive that way, you have to understand that if you leave a gap, I'm going to have a go.

"He left a little gap at the hairpin, I came in late and there was a little door clash but he would have known that if I got inside on the exit, I was gone as we are quicker up the straights. That is what happened, I started to accelerate and left him room as there was no need to squeeze him and then I had the biggest hit on the left rear corner - so much so that I've just found out that it has snapped the damper in half and bent the shell; so it wasn't a little rub.

"I can't comment too much as I was looking forward and I haven't seen the tapes yet, but either something broke on his car, he had temporary unconsciousness or he has fired me off on purpose. It's unlike Tom to do that kind of thing so we'll look at the tapes but it wasn't a good way to end what had been a strong weekend."

Until that point, Plato had closed the gap to Giovanardi down to 35 points, but the Italian was able to avoid his own contact in the final race to secure fifth place, which allowed him to open the lead back up to 41 points heading to Silverstone next time out.

"When you are in a position like Fabrizio you can decide when you can back out of certain situations, but that is motorsport," Plato added. "Sometimes it goes your way and sometimes it doesn't. I have no issue with being beaten properly; I have an issue with this kind of shit that goes on. You only have to see the damage to see that it wasn't a rub; it was a big impact to bend the shell and break the beam.

"I have to give Tom the benefit of the doubt until I see the tape, but if it was vaguely anywhere near on purpose, then it was f*****g bang out of order."

With his already slender title hopes having taken another hit, Plato will now head into the penultimate round of the year looking to simply win races - with his focus having already turned to the future and preparing for 2009.

"All this talk of the title still being alive is what you guys put to sell newspapers and get people to look at websites," he said. "The title has been over for a long time in my mind and I am out just out there to win races. If we win enough races and put it on pole, and divine intervention happens, then it might turn round, but if that doesn't happen, then it won't. We just have to do our job and win races. At the start of the year you don't think of the title, you think about winning races.

"For me, this is now a test and development programme for next year and its going well. There are still areas with the car that we need to improve and we have some characteristics that it will take some time to iron out. There is no such thing as a perfect race car; even in F1 they are still looking to improve it. Our car is far from perfect, but we have fantastic potential in the Leon diesel."