Crash.Net BTCC News
Triple for Plato, title for Turkington
4 October 2009
Jason Plato has become only the second driver to secure a hat-trick of victories on race day in the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship, but the Racing Silverline man couldn't stop Colin Turkington from becoming the 2009 champion.
Plato came through a chaotic season finale to take the win while Turkington followed him home in second place to become the champion for the first time. With Fabrizio Giovanardi fourth, Turkington takes the title by five points from Plato, with Giovanardi nine points off top spot in third.
When the race kicked off, Matt Neal held the lead into Paddock Hill, but a slow start from Paul O'Neill alongside him saw Jonny Adam into second, while Rob Collard also made a strong start in the sister Airwaves BMW car.
The opening lap however proved to be a chaotic affair however, with Adam taking the lead from Neal with a forceful move at Graham Hill only to be shoved off at Surtees, while behind, team-mate Collard went into the barriers along the Cooper Straight after contact with Tom Chilton's Ford. Andy Jordan and Johnny Herbert also tangled exiting Graham Hill Bend, with Jordan forced out and Herbert forced to pit.
Through the remainder of the lap, drivers jostled for position and as the field lined up behind the Safety Car while Collard's car was moved, Neal led from Turkington and Giovanardi – both of whom had made up places due to the chaos ahead. Plato meanwhile was sitting in sixth and ready to pounce.
When the race resumed on lap four, Neal was driving defensively to try and aid Giovanardi's title hopes but the Italian was in turn under pressure from a rejuvenated Tom Chilton in the Aon Focus behind.
The following lap, the Italian tried to make a move for second but it allowed Chilton through to third and hit the defending champions hopes.
A fine start had seen Tom Onslow-Cole up to fifth but he was under pressure from Plato who took the place at Druids on lap seven, with Gordon Shedden and O'Neill also getting ahead.
By lap eight, Giovanardi had managed to find a way back past Chilton with Plato following him through, with the Italian then trying to get ahead of Turkington – the pair almost touching coming out Clark to start the ninth lap.
On lap ten, Turkington went for the lead at Druids and forced his way through past Neal – who was forced wide and dropped to third – with Giovanardi also getting through. Plato then followed later in the lap, with the three title rivals running together at the front.
At the end of the lap, Giovanardi again tried to make a move for the lead exiting Clark but when Turkington blocked, it allowed Plato a run round the outside. Not only did he take second, but also the lead, as he powered around the outside of Turkington into first place.
Another clash between Giovanardi and Turkington exiting Clark on the following lap – which saw Giovanardi forced onto the grass towards the pit wall – allowed Chilton to pass his former Vauxhall team-mate into third, with the positions out front remaining static to the finish, despite Giovanardi trying desperately to retake the place.
The Italian therefore relinquished the title with fourth place, with Neal recovering to fifth.
Stephen Jelley, Anthony Reid, Adam, Shedden and Dave Pinkney rounded out the top ten.