Jason Plato claimed victory in the second race for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Snetterton – although Team Halfords might well have something to say about the result after contact between Plato and Matt Neal
on the final lap.
The two were fighting for victory heading into the final lap, with Neal having closed in a gap of over six seconds, with the Honda Integra edging ahead on the run into the Bomb Hole. Contact there saw Neal tipped sideways to let Plato back into the lead, with Neal then diving down the inside into Russell Bend. Plato appeared to try and turn in on the orange Integra, with Neal spinning as a result while Plato carried on to take the flag. Neal however could only come over the line in eighth, with Gareth Howell
slowing to allow his team leader to come back through.
The dramatic final lap arrived after Plato looked set to claim a lights-to-flag win, having broken away from the pack to build a commanding lead before Neal hunted him down. He was followed over the line by team-mate James Thompson in a repeat of the result of race one – Thommo dropping behind Fabrizio Giovanardi
at the start before going off at the Esses to drop as low as sixth. The reigning WTCC title leader battled past Gareth Howell
for fourth after Giovanardi went off across the grass, and went third past Gavin Smith on lap 16 – then inheriting second when Plato and Neal had their incident.
Colin Turkington, who had earlier retired from the opening race, came through the pack to take a fine third place in the Team RAC MG ZS while Mike Jordan, Rob Collard
and Gordon Shedden
completing the top six – Shedden surviving an incident with Smith that saw the Astra Sport Hatch on two wheels before going into the barrier at Russell. Tom Chilton
took seventh from Neal, with Gareth Howell
and Eoin Murray completing the top ten – the latter after hard work from Team Quest to repair the damage sustained by the Alfa Romeo in the opening race of the weekend.
Mark Proctor, Fiona Leggate and Erkut Kizilirmak
completed the finishers, with additional drama being provided by an accident at the start that removed Martyn Bell
and Dave Pinkney from contention – Pinkney forced to drive a lap of the circuit with the bonnet of his car covering the windscreen before pulling the Motorbase Honda into the garage.
The draw for the final race of the day will see the top nine places reversed – giving pole position to Gareth Howell
and securing a place on the front row for Neal.