BTCC » 1 April 2007
Round 2: Plato doubles up.
Jason Plato made it two wins from two at Brands Hatch with a lights-to-flag win in the second race for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship.
Plato, who had started from pole position, was able to drive away from the field to secure a comfortable victory, with Colin Turkington finishing over two seconds behind in second place at the wheel of his Team RAC BMW.
Unlike the drama of race one, the first lap of race two passed with more or less no major drama, aside from a trip into the gravel for Gareth Howell at Clearways as he ran wide in the Motorbase Performance SEAT. It meant Plato held the early lead from Turkington and Matt Neal, with Tom Chilton, Tom Onslow-Cole and Mike Jordan completing the top six. Having been excluded from the opening race and forced to start from the back of the field, Mat Jackson was forced to make his way through the field, as did Darren Turner after his race one retirement.
The two quicker cars would soon start making moves up the field, with Turner taking just three laps to break into the top ten and Jackson also rapidly making up positions. Both were helped by the retirement at the end of lap five of Gordon Shedden, who had held seventh before contact between team-mate Neal and Turkington's BMW at the end of lap four kicked off a series of events that would lead to the Scot being forced out of the race.
When Neal tagged the back of the BMW coming out of Clearways, it gave Onslow-Cole a run round the outside of both cars ahead, only for the rookie to be hung out to dry at Paddock Hill Bend as the pair came back through. With Turkington seemingly holding up the cars behind, Adam Jones and Fabrizio Giovanardi had closed onto the train of cars and as they streamed along Cooper Straight towards Surtees and diced for position, Shedden and Giovanardi made contact which resulted in Shedden spearing off across the grass and into retirement.
While Plato continued to lap alone, the incidents behind had shuffled the pack, with Turkington and Neal in the podium positions ahead of Chilton, Jones, Giovanardi, Jordan and Turner – who was now into ninth place and still making progress. Jones dropped down to ninth, but within a few laps, things were mixed up once again. This time it was Onslow-Cole who made contact with a Honda Civic as he tagged Neal going through Graham Hill Bend, dropping the champion to seventh. Mike Jordan and Giovanardi then appeared to touch, with both running wide at Surtees and Jordan forced to retire.
Onslow-Cole now held third behind his team-mate, with Chilton fourth and Turner up to fifth. The impressive Jones was now sixth while Neal had dropped down to seventh as a result of his contact with the orange BMW. Onslow-Cole wouldn't hold his position for long however, with Chilton going through on the Paddock on lap eleven and Turner then hitting the BMW as he attempted to follow Chilton through – putting the teenager into the gravel although he would manage to rejoin well down the order.
The big battle then revolved around Jones and Neal for fifth, with the Team Aircool man doing well to hold off the challenge of the Honda before he ran wide at Clearways and gave Neal the chance to run up the inside along the start finish straight and take the position. From there, the top six remained the same to the flag, with Plato winning from Turkington, Chilton, Turner, Neal and Jones. Giovanardi settled for seventh – and pole position for race three after the draw was made on the podium – while Jackson took eighth, coming from the back complete with ballast from the opening race. Matt Allison secured his first points finish in ninth, while Chris Stockton was able to fend off the challenge of a recovering Howell, Erkut Kizilirmak and Martyn Bell for the final point.
Fiona Leggate failed to make the start after her race one accident, while Nick Leason deposited oil around Druids on his way round to the grid before pulling off to retire before the race started.
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