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Plato takes Snetterton opener
7 August 2011
Jason Plato took his fifth win of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season with victory in the first race of the weekend at Snetterton.
Plato had started from pole in his Chevrolet but looked set to lose out to a quick-starting Matt Neal when the lights went out. However, as the pair went side-by-side through turn one, Plato appeared to get slightly out of shape and a small tap on Neal saw him spin in front of the field and drop to the back of the pack.
That left Plato leading from team-mate Alex MacDowall with Gordon Shedden in third in his Honda. For the remainder of the race, the top three would remain unchanged as the Chevrolet pair too a 1-2 finish and Shedden rounded out the podium.
Behind them in fourth however was arguably the revelation of the race as Frank Wrathall put his Dynojet Racing Toyota into the points for the first time and secured Independent honours at the same time. From seventh on the grid, the Preston racer got up to sixth on the opening lap before battling ahead of James Nash on lap two, with a mistake for Tom Chilton at Riches on lap six allowing him through into fourth, where he would run unchallenged to the finish.
Chilton looked set to settle for fifth before a slow final lap saw him slip down the field, with James Nash taking the place ahead of Mat Jackson and Paul O'Neill. Jackson got ahead of O'Neill when the Tech-Speed man got out of shape at Riches mid-way through the race with O'Neill then spending the rest of the race fixed firmly to the bumper of the Airwaves Ford.
Tom Onslow-Cole took eighth despite damage to his car after hitting a straw bale on lap one, with Chilton and Dave Newsham rounding out the points.
Elsewhere, Andrew Jordan was down in twelfth after running wide at Montreal on lap one with debutant Martin Byford two places behind him in the AmD VW Golf. Neal fought back to 18th at the finish while Dan Welch was still running in the Proton at the finish and had run inside the top 15 before a series of slow laps towards the end dropped him to the back of the pack.
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