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Plato flies to BTCC race one victory at Snetterton

Sunday, August 12 2012

Jason Plato made up for qualifying errors with a lights-to-flag victory in the first Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race at Snetterton today (Sunday). The MG title challenger took advantage of a slow-starting Frank Wrathall, who initially fell back to third before taking second from an aggressive Dave Newsham, who finished fourth behind Andrew Jordan.

Wrathall bogged down at the start, giving Plato and Newsham the jump as they turned into Riches. Meawhile as they rounded the first lap, Adam Morgan got a wheel onto the grass into Williams and spun, and as the field exited Murrays for the first time the top three led Jordan, Matt Neal, Dan Welch and Lea Wood.

Newsham was encouraged by his fast start and focussed on the MG in front but Plato, very much at one with Snetterton, was inching away. However before anyone had the chance to further influence the order, an incident at Riches between newcomer Robb Holland and Adam Morgan brought out the safety car, as the Civic was currently parked in the tyre wall.

There was a reasonable delay before the action could restart and at the end of lap seven the cars were released once more. Newsham chased after Plato, with Neal having to go defensive to hold Welch back. The Proton was literally pushing the Civic around the infield but help was on its way as Shedden, up to 12th following the early laps, wasn't far behind and ready to pounce on the battling BMWs of Collard and Onslow-Cole.

Newsham had a go for the lead into Riches on lap nine but ran wide, so Wrathall grabbed second place and the resultant squabble between the pair gave Plato vital breathing space. Another move on the outside by the Vectra driver at Riches also brought Jordan into play for the second place fight.

At two-thirds distance Plato was pulling away from the second place battle, whilst Neal held off Welch and Wood, with the BMWs and Shedden following. The Scotsman despatched Collard, whilst Onslow-Cole cleared Wood for seventh, the Vectra now losing ground to the group ahead. All the while, they wrer being reeled in by a charging Mat Jackson, beginning to revel in the new NGTC Focus.

In the late stages Wrathall cleared Newsham, who now had his mirrors full of Jordan. Neal was safe from attack by Welch, now the focus of attention as he fought hard to hold off Onslow-Cole, Shedden and Collard. Jordan barged past Newsham onto the Bentley Straight but the Vectra fought back, however Jordan simply grabbed the place back at Nelson. With Collard stopped under the bridge on the final lap, Mat Jackson took ninth place from Wood.

However the result was later amended after Newsham's Vectra failed post-race scrutineering checks for being under weight. Therefore Neal gains a vital place, with Jeff Smith now completing the top ten.

Meanwhile Wrathall will be hoping to get revenge on Plato in race two, which takes place at 14:40.

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship Race 1

1, Jason Plato, MG Racing, MG6, 15 Laps
2, Frank Wrathall, Dynojet, Toyota Avensis, +1.834s
3, Andrew Jordan, Pirtek, Honda Civic, +6.764s
4, Matt Neal, Honda Racing, Honda Civic, +13.072s
5, Daniel Welch, Welch Motorsport, Proton Persona, +17.363s
6, Tom Onslow-Cole, eBay Motors, BMW 320si, +17.873s
7, Gordon Shedden, Honda Racing, Honda Civic, +18.288s
8, Mat Jackson, Redstone Racing, Ford Focus, +19.298s
9, Lea Wood, BINZ Racing, Vauxhall Vectra, +19.715s
10, Jeff Smith, Pirtek, Honda Civic, +21.271s

Raceday tickets for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Snetterton on 11/12 August are available on the gate for £30, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.