Jason Plato will take a 17 point lead into the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season finale at Brands Hatch after battling back from a race one retirement at Donington Park.

The Chevrolet driver looked set to see his championship lead come down after he was forced to retire from the opening race after an incident at the new Goddards Chicane saw his Cruze go off into the gravel with damaged suspension.

Starting down in 19th place for race two as a result, Plato produced a fine performance to come through the field to take third and then matched that result in race two to ensure he will be the man to beat on Finals Day.

However, the 2001 champion won't have an easy run to a second title, with Honda duo Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden still in contention for the crown along with Team Aon's Tom Onslow-Cole.

"After race one it wasn't looking too rosy but my team worked miracles to repair the car in such a short timeframe and third place in race two was all down to them," Plato said. "I knew this would be a great circuit for the Cruze and while I'm happy with a 17-point lead it should have been 25 or so. But I'd rather have a handy cushion than be going to Brands Hatch playing catch-up.

"We just need to do our homework between now and then, leave no stone unturned and take nothing for granted."

In all, 24 points cover Plato in first and Onslow-Cole in fourth going into the season finale.