Jason Plato has hit out at the penalty he picked up during the opening race of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship weekend at Thruxton after seeing Fabrizio Giovanardi extend his lead in the title race by two points in Hampshire.

The SEAT Sport UK man had qualified in sixth place despite being left to rely on a late flying lap in the session after losing all his times when his Leon TDi failed the ride-height test mid-way during qualifying.

A fine start to race one put Plato into a podium position and he ran in third place until Gordon Shedden suffered a puncture - which promoted the SEAT into second. Although he lost out to Colin Turkington for position, Plato took the flag in third before then being excluded for failing the ride height test - a decision that was upheld after the team launched an appeal with the Leon sporting damage sustained in contact with Giovanardi.

"I played it safe with the kerbs and wanted to learn about where I car was so I was quite conservative," he told Crash.net afterwards. "Then I was kicked out for a ride-height infringement in an area of the car just forward of the rear wheel where there is a carbon cover.

"During the race, Fabrizio gave me a few good taps - and there was nothing wrong with that - and damaged that cover. It slipped down by a few millimetres and we failed the ride-height in that area where there is no performance gain. The race wasn't affected and you can see I came third through a great start and some defensive driving. But they chose to throw me out, send me to the back and give me weight despite the fact we showed them the damage and showed them data traces to show we had lost ride-height.

"They let other people off with their damage, Shedden got away with it in qualifying and Turkington got away with it when he had a slow puncture. But we got put to the back which I'm pretty wound up about to be honest - it isn't good enough."

Despite starting race two from the back as a result, Plato came through to take the flag in seventh place which put him on the second row of the grid for race three under the reverse grid rules.

Although he was suffering with a brake issue on the car going into the final race, Plato quickly jumped up to second place at the start and maintained his position until Shedden suffered a puncture - inheriting a lead that he wasn't to lose.

However, at the end of the weekend there was still disappointment that the championship gap to Giovanardi had grown when it could well have decreased.

"For some reason the brake bias system went wrong on the in lap from race two and wound itself to the front and locked itself up," he said. "I checked the balance ahead of race three and it was all over the place but I couldn't reset it. We had to take the pedal box out to try and un-snag the system so I had no rear brakes and it was extra special to win it with the problems we had. We also had a misfire in race two and things haven't gone our way.

"We should be pleased to have the results we had considering it all, but it is frustrating that I lost two points to Fabrizio when I should have taken ten or twelve out of him."