BTCC » 8 August 2004
Plato takes advantage for race two win...again.
The reverse grid rules paid dividend for Jason Plato again as he took the second race of the day at Knockhill in the British Touring Car Championship.
Plato overcame a late safety car period and the challenge of Matt Neal to take the honours for SEAT with Neal and Dan Eaves rounding out the podium. Save for the Plato domination at the head of the field it certainly was an exciting race.
The starting grid had lined up differently than expected under skies that were a complete contrast from the morning race's fog and, indeed, from what the forecasters predicted; there's no rain here in Scotland.
The amendment on the grid saw WSR MG driver Colin Turkington penalised for a starting his move on James Thompson in race one under yellow flags, and thus dropped on the finishing order, but ironically with the reverse grid, raised on the starting order for race two.
This meant that on the first lap it was Thompson trying hard to get past the MG that should otherwise have been behind him. Not for long however, as the hard charging and certainly exuberant behind the wheel Tom Chilton soon hustled his way past the VX Racing Astra. Thompsons race would finish early, with him forced out before half way.
As the field settled down – if that's the right word in such a hectic race at the tight and twisty circuit – it was Plato from Matt Neal, Rob Collard, Dan Eaves, Shaun Watson-Smith, Yvan Muller, Colin Turkington then Anthony Reid as he too found a way past Thompson.
Ahead all was spacing out, but the bulking point was that Proton of South African Watson-Smith. Far more experienced than his team-mate, Watson-Smith was able to keep reigning champ Muller behind for lap after lap as behind Muller there was quite a congestion issue at the Scottish circuit.
Finally Muller found a way past and set about the task of closing down the gap to Dan Eaves ahead. Eaves could still see team-mate Matt Neal in the other Computeach Racing with Halfords Civic, but Neal was not having any joy keeping with Plato's Toledo, which was strange, as you'd expect the pointy Civic to have the legs of the bigger Toledo on a tight and twisty circuit like Knockhill.
Race one winner Anthony Reid was certainly on a charge to make the way back to the front from tenth place, but his charge up the grid would be at the expense of teammate Turkington. Heading into the tight Taylors hairpin, Reid launched an ambitious move up the inside of Chilton's Honda only to tag the youngster who then, in turn, slid into the rear of the MG. The WSR car went on for another lap but the fact Turkington couldn't keep the black car in a straight line showed a terminal problem.
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