Racing Silverline star Jason Plato might have missed out on the 2009 HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) drivers' laurels by a whisker in the Brands Hatch finale earlier this month, but he can at least add another 'Champagne Moment' to his collection.
The BTCC legend racked up an amazing hat-trick of triumphs around the Kent circuit – the first time such a feat had been achieved since Dan Eaves for Team Halfords at Thruxton back in 2005 – and in so doing, the 42-year-old narrowly beat newly-crowned champion Colin Turkington to the Champagne Moment bubbly, with pole man Tom Chilton coming in third, the Ford Aon ace having been similarly agonisingly pipped across the line to victory in race one.
The three-horse-race was the closest HiQ Champagne Moment award ever, with Plato polling 33 per cent of the votes, Team RAC star Turkington 31 per cent and Chilton 28 per cent. It is the second time the 2001 BTCC Champion has scooped the accolade after similarly claiming the prize at Knockhill in September, where he stormed through the pack to the runner-up spot in race three, having started right at the back of the grid.
BTCC fan Paul Leabourne, of Bournemouth, was picked at random to win a bottle of champagne and he will now receive a pair of tickets to the opening round of 2010 BTCC action at Thruxton on 4 April.
“Brands Hatch was a phenomenal weekend,” he enthused. “I had a great time along with thousands of other fans, and it was a tough one to vote on. Colin Turkington's driving was exquisite to win the drivers' title, but I had to go for Jason. Three wins were just incredible – and if anyone was going to catch Colin, he was the man.”
“What way to bring the curtain down on our Champagne Moment Awards,” added HiQ BTCC marketing manager Geraldine McGovern. “The racing at Brands was just spectacular, and it is great that we can recognise Jason for his amazing efforts.”