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Round 17: Plato wins to extend lead.

Despite the best efforts of the British weather to play havoc with the schedule, the 17th round of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship was able to go ahead on time with Jason Plato securing a fifth win of the season to extend his championship lead.

With the programme having been suspended due to heavy rain at the East Midlands venue, the track was wet as the field lined up for the start with a further heavy shower coming down just as the race prepared to start. When the lights did go green, race one winner Gordon Shedden made the best start to lead into the first corner from Adam Jones, with Matt Neal third and Jason Plato fourth. Eager to make the most of the pace from the Honda Civic, Neal was all over the back of the Team Aircool SEAT and slipped through at the Chicane to go second at the end of the lap.

Behind the top four, Mike Jordan held fifth but on lap two he ran wide at the Chicane to drop behind Fabrizio Giovanardi while further down the order Tom Onslow-Cole was spinning at McLeans as marshals worked to retrieve the Honda of John George from the gravel after the JAG Racing man span off on the opening lap.

Having suffered a disastrous weekend last year at Donington, Plato was finding more pace in his Leon this time around and challenged Jones for third at the start of lap three with the two side-by-side round Redgate before Jones managed to successfully defend the position. However it wasn't to last, with Plato getting the place at Coppice to go behind the Halfords pair. Plato quickly caught onto the tail of Neal and on lap six went round the outside of the defending champion into Redgate. Contact between the two unsettled the SEAT but Plato was able to make the pass stick and set about closing the gap to leader Shedden. Despite the best efforts of the Scot to keep Plato at bay, the SEAT finally found a way past down the Craner Curves in lap twelve to give Plato a lead he would hold to the finish, pulling away in the closing stages for the win.

Behind Shedden, the second Honda was coming under pressure from Giovanardi with the Vauxhall driver aware of the need to climb as high as possible to minimise the points loss to Plato. Swarming all over the back of Neal, Giovanardi finally made a move at the Chicane on lap 13 to secure his place on the podium. Neal took fourth after fending off the challenge of Jones in the closing stages with Darren Turner rounding the top six. Jordan, Matt Allison, Turkington and Mat Jackson completing the top six.

Despite the tough conditions, only three people failed to finish, with mechanical problems putting Eoin Murray and Jason Hughes out of the race.


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jason Plato (GBR), SEAT Sport UK, SEAT Leon
Gordon Shedden - Team Halfords Honda Civic
Fabrizio Giovanardi (ITA), VX Racing, Vauxhall Vectra
Start of the race, Jason Plato (GBR) MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save MG6 GT leads
Start of the race, Jason Plato (GBR) MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save MG6 GT leads
Podium, Neal, Plato and Turkington
Podium, Neal, Plato and Turkington
Podium, Neal, Plato and Turkington
Podium, Neal, Plato and Turkington
Podium, Neal, Plato and Turkington
Jason Plato (GBR) MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save MG6 GT
Jason Plato (GBR) MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save MG6 GT
Jason Plato (GBR) MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save MG6 GT
Jason Plato (GBR) MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save MG6 GT
Jason Plato (GBR) MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save MG6 GT
Jason Plato (GBR) MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save MG6 GT
Jason Plato (GBR) MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save MG6 GT
Jason Plato (GBR) MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save MG6 GT

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