Jason Plato countered Fabrizio Giovanardi's bid to take over the lead of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship standings after triumphing in the third and final race of the day at Thruxton.

Having seen Giovanardi's two wins move him to within just a single point of a championship lead Plato has held since the first round, the SEAT driver held steady in the final outing to edge Gordon Shedden and Mike Jordan.

A typically frenetic start jostled an order led away from the lights by David Pinkney and Jason Hughes thanks to a grid that saw the top ten finishers from the second race reversed.

However, while many would have had the duo swamped at the lights, Hughes mistake into Campbell delayed those following directly behind and allowed Pinkney into a lead of almost three seconds after the first lap.

A strong start by Plato saw him slot into second place where he duly proceeded to quickly hunt the Alfa Romeo down, catching and passing him after four very popular laps in the lead for the new Luton Football Chairman.

Pinkney though proceeded to slip down the order, passed by a gaggle of cars that at times tried to thread their way through Brooklands and into Club all at the same time, a jostle that included both Vauxhalls, both Team RAC BMWs, the Halfords Civics, Mike Jordan's Integra and the fast recovering Darren Turner from the back of the field.

Remarkably all remained unscathed for the most part until Colin Turkington peeled into the pit lane with a puncture and Tom Onslow-Cole was punted down the order later on in the race to end a somewhat disappointing day for Team RAC.

Plato was a comfortable winner though to negate Giovanardi's threat and pull a small gap over the in-form Italian. Between them they have won eight of the first nine races of the season, the duo now having established a significant championship lead.

Shedden was a popular second on a strong day for the still developing Honda Civic, while Jordan's third place proved the Intergra still has the ability to humble newer machinery around a Thruxton circuit that has served it well in the past.

Giovanardi was fourth to complete a very impressive haul of points, the Italian leading Matt Neal and Turner over the line. Gareth Howell was a lonely seventh, ahead of Tom Chilton, while Jason Hughes and Onslow-Cole rounded out the top ten.