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Round 3: Plato completes SEAT clean sweep

9 April 2006

Jason Plato earned SEAT a clean sweep of victories from the opening weekend of racing in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship with victory in a controversial third race.

Plato started from third on the grid but jumped Rob Collard off the line to go second behind Tom Chilton who had started from pole position but moved into the lead after sliding past Chilton at Clearways after a slight nudge from the SEAT Leon on the rear of the Astra Sport Hatch.

Plato was then able to pull away unchallenged to take the victory in a race that was shortened following an accident involving defending champion Matt Neal. The Team Halfords driver had been battling on track with Collard for second when he took the place at Clearways.

However with the two running nose-to-tail down the start-finish straight, Collard make contact with the rear of the Honda Integra with Neal sent spinning off into the barriers on the outside of Paddock Hill bend. With the champion unable to climb from the car, and the Honda in a dangerous place, the red flags were put out allowing Neal to exit the Integra and bringing the race to a premature end.

With the race result decided on count back as a result, Plato was declared winner with Collard in second and Colin Turkington third. Chilton claimed fourth ahead of the second Team Halfords Integra of Gordon Shedden who produced a storming drive from the rear of the field.

Double race winner James Thompson was unable to make it three wins from three as he took sixth with Fabrizio Giovanardi and Gavin Smith completing the top eight.

Whether or not stewards take action over the incident involving Collard and Neal remains to be seen...


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