BTCC » 11 April 2004
Plato wins at Thruxton.
It is only their second race in the British Touring Car Championship, but SEAT today took a race win at the hands of series returnee Jason Plato.
In an action packed thriller, which saw an early safety car after a coming together between Matt Neal and race one winner James Thompson, Plato pushed his way to the front early on, and held off the insistent Frenchman impeccably.
From the start of the first reverse grid race of the season it was clear there was going to be plenty of action. Polesitter from finishing the first race in tenth place was Tom Chilton in the matt black Honda Civic, but the teenager failed to make the most of his start at the head of the field, and set off very slowly indeed as the rest of the field barrelled past him.
Benefiting from Chilton's tardiness was Dan Eaves who pushed his Honda to first, whilst Jason Plato's SEAT looked strong. Plato was looking to the outside of the South African Shaun Watson-Smith's Proton, when in the first corner Watson-Smith ran wide, meaning that Plato on the outside too ran wide, allowing team-mate Rob Huff through to the lead.
Further back in the field, Anthony Reid also had an off-road moment and lost a large number of places in the hectic start.
First lap completed, the line-up saw Dan Eaves from Rob Huff, with Plato, Yvan Muller, Michael Bentwood, Watson-Smith, Matt Neal and James Thompson behind.
Thompson had dominated the first race, though Matt Neal had been closing him in to come second earlier today. The second race battle between the duo didn't last that long.
Unseen by the television cameras, Neal and Thompson had a coming together which left Neal in the tyre wall and Thompson stranding with an non-functioning car in the middle of the track.
With Thompson's steed immobile there was no option but for the safety car to come out. Before the Audi had taken to the circuit, Plato had made his second place back from team-mate Rob Huff, the second SEAT man then seen circulating minus a front bumper, as he crossed the start finish line now behind Plato, Muller, Bentwood, Watson-Smith and Rob Collard.
Three laps later the safety car returned to the pits and Plato was on a charge with intent. Dan Eaves did what he could, but Plato was through after a couple of laps of keen attention to the rear of Eaves' Honda.
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