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Round 16: Lights-to-flag for Plato at Snetterton

13 July 2008

Jason Plato continued SEAT's domination of the weekend at Snetterton by leading home Darren Turner to a 1-2 finish in the opening race for the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship.

Having qualified on pole position, Plato held his position at the start and was then able to run in formation with Turner until the finish, with the diesel Leons able to hold off any challenge from behind.

The main challengers emerged as Team Halfords pairing Tom Chilton and Gordon Shedden, with Chilton having made a storming start to the race to jump to third on the opening lap. While the pair were able to close in on the SEATs under braking, the extra torque of the turbo diesel-engine enabled Plato and Turner to pull away and prevent the two Hondas from trying to make a move for position.

One chance did come on a restart following a Safety Car period when Martyn Bell and Andy Jordan both went on the run to Sear. Jordan suffered a brake problem and was forced to take avoiding action into the field to avoid the cars ahead while Bell was left with nowhere to go when John George suffered a spin and mad contact with the tyres on the inside of the corner.

Such was the static nature of the race, the top six places remained the same throughout, with Colin Turkington taking fifth place and Independents honours ahead of the first Vauxhall in the hands of Tom Onslow-Cole. He finished just ahead of team-mate Fabrizio Giovanardi who slipped back from fourth to ninth on the opening lap of the race before battling his way past Stephen Jelley and Steven Kane to take seventh.

Kane himself took eighth place ahead of team-mate Rob Collard who was one of the stars of the race as he came through the field from 15th on the grid in the sister Motorbase BMW. Up to eleventh by the time the Safety Car came out on lap two, he battled past Adam Jones on lap ten to secure his place inside the points.

Jones endured a frustrating race from the that point as, having briefly got back ahead of Collard, he was forced wide out Sear and dropped down to 14th place as the train of cars behind sailed past down the Revett Straight. That looked like giving tenth place to Mike Jordan before he lost out in the run to the flag to Matt Neal, who himself had a heated battled with Mat Jackson that included contact on lap 17 at The Esses and saw Jackson's BMW forced to run wide. Behind Neal and Jordan on the results, Stephen Jelley took twelfth having taken advantage of Jackson running wide to move past both the BMW and Adam Jones' SEAT, which had been baulked coming out of the corner.

Jones took 13th place as a result ahead of Harry Vaulkhard and Jackson, who took another trip over the grass at The Esses while fighting for position with Jones. Jason Hughes, George and Erkut Kizilirmak completed the 18 finishers, with Alan Taylor losing a wheel on the green flag lap and Micky Doyle losing one on the second lap.


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