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BTCC Donington 2013: Weighty Plato retains lead
23 April 2013
Jason Plato has retained his lead in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship despite taking just a single podium from the second meeting of the year at Donington Park.
The MG KX Momentum Racing man went into the weekend on top of the standings following his double success at Brands Hatch, and started off with a fourth place finish in race one despite carrying maximum ballast thanks to his position as championship leader.
The double champion followed it up with a hard-fought second place in race two – his 400th in the series – following a long battle with Gordon Shedden, although he could only take eighth in race three having been forced to take avoiding action to miss the Toyota of Dave Newsham, which had spun at Craner.
Plato now leads the way by five points going into the third meeting of the year at Thruxton next month.
“It was always going to be a tough ask going up against cars that didn't have any extra weight, and that played against us at Donington Park,” he said. “When you are in those situations, it is about maximising opportunities.
“Finishing fourth in race one in those conditions was good but I was frustrated in race two, when I thought I had the pace to win. I climbed to third place but it just took me so long to get ahead of Gordon Shedden, who was driving the defensive race of his life. When I managed it, the leader was long gone.
“[In race three] I got the fright of my life when I was going down the Craner Curves at 120mph and there was a car sideways across the road – it's not good for the heart rate! Going on to the grass ruined my tyres and recovering to eighth meant I at least banked some points.”
Team-mate Sam Tordoff meanwhile was able to bring home three more strong top six finishes, although he missed out on a podium result in race three after being forced wide by the Honda of Matt Neal on the final lap – a move that also allowed Gordon Shedden through to demote the youngster back to fourth.
“I am disappointed that I didn't get even better results, but that is a mark of how far I have come and how competitive I am,” he said. “I was on the softer rubber [in race three], and we are learning about how to use that all the time. I was trying to manage the life of the rubber and I think we taught ourselves a lot, but we just ran out of grip at the end.
“However, when you look at the company I am racing in and the experience that the other guys have over me, I have to take many positives from three solid finishes yet again.”