13 June 2004
SEAT time at Mondello.
SEAT took a one-two in the second race of the day at Mondello Park today with Jason Plato leading from the off and taking the chequered flag ahead of team-mate Rob Huff.
Plato has used the reverse grid second race to his advantage well before this season, and his work back through the field in race one earlier today emulated his Thruxton race one move backwards to ensure a front-row start for race two.
Mondello race two saw Plato pitted up against Michael Bentwood on the start grid and it was the highly experienced Plato who got by far the better start in his Toledo to streak away from Bentwood's VX Racing Jr Astra.
Behind Bentwood on the grid was Plato's team-mate Rob Huff, but the second Toledo was not to stay in this position for long as it was bye-bye Bentwood from the track coming into Stena Line and a SEAT with a bruised nose that emerged from the dust kicked-up by the Astra's gravel excursion.
The Mondello circuit is tight, twisty and particularly difficult to pass on for the BTCC cars, so a reverse grid pitching faster cars behind slower ones was always going to be interesting. True to form, plenty of mid-field bickering ensued.
By the end of the first lap the top ten lined up Plato, by 2.3 seconds thank you very much, Huff, Chilton, Thompson, Hines, Muller, Reid, Turkington, Kaye, Neal. Muller had shown once again that a heavy car presents no detriment to his charging getaways, and Reid, just like race one, found himself staring at the Astra's rear bumper.
Soon, as the commentator put it, 'Huff ran out of puff,” and the BTCC's youngest race winner, Tom Chilton, was to set about the rear of the Spanish car, but this was not to last long as 2002 champ James Thompson soon created a 180 degree attention shift for Chilton as attack turned to defend for the Star Wars Lego backed driver.
Chilton's rather good at this defending lark, expecially when assisted by a circuit of the nature of Mondello, so Thompson was having to employ all the tricks in the book and still receiving no reward for his efforts.
Behind Thompson team-mate Luke Hines was having a go and behind him it was Yvan Muller with Anthony Reid in close proximity. Hines was soon to have a go at Honda just as the fourth lap was starting. Hines braked later and was through on the inside, but just like a classroom example, Thompson didn't defend but simply retook his place when Hines out-braked himself.
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