Jason Plato has been hit with an official reprimand and two points on his racing licence following his coming together with Matt Neal during the final HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship race of the weekend at Croft.
The pair were fighting for fifth position in the race when they made contact at the hairpin, and then again going into the opening corner at Clervaux – with Neal tipped into a spin into the infield.
While Plato continued and took the flag in fifth place, Neal dropped down the order before battling to eighth place, losing more ground to Colin Turkington in the championship standings as a result.
Plato's penalty came for 'driving in a matter incompatible with general safety' although the 2001 champion told the official series website BTCC.net
that the incident hadn't been deliberate.
“I simply aquaplaned into Matt going into the corner – my car was out of control as I tried braking,” he said. “Then as we turned the corner there was a huge puddle and I had to hit the power to get out of it and there was a bit more contact. It wasn't deliberate and I did try explaining to him afterwards. If it hadn't been Matt then it would have been someone else.”
Neal meanwhile wasn't happy following a weekend where he struggled to match Turkington for pace and slipped to second in the drivers' standings.
“I guess you have to have bad ones to appreciate the good ones,” he said. “My car felt better and better as the weekend went on, but it wasn't the track for us. I don't think losing the championship lead is a concern as we still have plenty of races to come and circuits which are more suited to our car.
“I wasn't happy to be punted off by Jason and it's not the first time as it happened at Donington Park. It's just disappointing for the boys who work so hard when we don't get the results we deserve.”