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Round 9: SEAT get it right as Plato leads 1-2
14 May 2006
Having been tipped as the team to beat during the third meeting of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season, SEAT finally got it right in the final race at Oulton Park as Jason Plato and James Thompson secured a one-two finish.
The two Leons had started from the front two rows of the grid after the top seven places were reversed in the draw following race two, and quickly moved into second and third as Thompson got ahead of Rob Collard off the line - pole-sitter Tom Chilton getting away well to hold the lead for the opening lap.
However the youngster, who endured a tough start to the weekend when he went off heavily at Old Hall during qualifying, overcooked it coming through Cascades on lap two, running wide and allowing Plato and Thompson to get past - with Thompson then sliding up the inside of his team-mate at Island Hairpin to go into the lead.
It wouldn't last for Thompson though, as Plato reclaimed the place at the same corner two laps later to take a lead he wasn't to lose even when the safety car was deployed on lap seven after Gordon Shedden went off at Lodge.
While the front three had it all their own way, the fight behind emerged as the one to watch, Giovanardi holding fourth until he lost out to Rob Collard in the Team RAC MG ZS.
The sister car of Colin Turkington was on a move through the field after starting at the back, with the Ulsterman passing Matt Neal for sixth on lap eleven, the champion running wide and also losing out to Gavin Smith and Mike Jordan at the same time.
Turkington quickly locked onto the tail of Giovanardi, touching the Astra Sport Hatch at Lodge and then again at Island before taking the position - with Smith following him through. Jordan and Neal also passed the Italian in the closing laps, but the race went the way of SEAT after two difficult race earlier in the day.
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