The withdrawal of SEAT from the BTCC looked like ruling Jason Plato out of the 2009 season when he failed to appear on the entry list for the new season, but just days before the opening round, a deal was agreed that saw the former champion join RML at the wheel of a Chevrolet Lacetti.
Despite no testing in the car, he won in the opening rounds of the year at Brands Hatch and added five further podiums before the half way point of the campaign.
After the mid-season break, Plato emerged as the man to beat and he picked up a further six victories – including all three on Finals Day, making him on the second man to win all three races on a single day. The first of those wins was by the closest margin in BTCC history after Plato out-dragged Tom Chilton to the line to win by just 0.015secs.
That allowed him to take second in the championship standings after a campaign where he scored more pole positions than anyone else and took more race wins – with his career tally now being just seven shy of Andy Rouse's all-time record.
Rumours suggest a switch to the Chevrolet Cruze as used in the WTCC could be in the offing for 2010 but Plato is likely to start the season as one of the favourites for the title.
Chevrolet Lacetti (S2000)
Independents' Championship position:
Independents' Championship points:
NB: Pole position refers to qualifying, not to grid slot for race two or three on a weekend, decided by earlier race results
Podiums doesn't include race wins