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Plato holds Turkington at bay in Snetterton opener

Sunday, August 03 2014

Jason Plato converted pole position into a win in the opening Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race at Snetterton today (Sunday). The MG driver drove a controlled race to keep title leader Colin Turkington's BMW behind, whilst Matt Neal emerged victorious from the battle behind to complete the podium

Plato held off Turkington at the start, despite the BMW getting a good getaway, whilst behind them Sam Tordoff ran wide at Riches, and pitted at the end of the lap with brake failure. The third MG of Marc Hynes was making good progress but came into contact with Jack Goff at Bomb Hole, whilst the latter was fighting with Gordon Shedden.

Into lap two and Plato had escaped Turkington's clutches, whilst Alain Menu ran third from Tom Ingram and Matt Neal, with Aron Smith heading the chasing pack. Further back Andrew Jordan had elected to avoid the first lap melee by starting from the pitlane and was making good progress up the order.

As the drivers settled into the race, attention turned to the fight for third place, and whilst Neal fought with Menu, Smith had passed Ingram for fourth place. The Civic took third at Murrays, and as the Passat drivers argued along the Senna Straight, Adam Morgan nipped past both in the WIX Racing Mercedes.

Behind the VWs, Shedden had his mirrors full of Mat Jackson's Focus and tried to force his way past Smith for sixth place and vital championship points. The Irishman was wise to the challenge, however, but Shedden did manage to keep his Civic out of Jackson's reach. The increasing threat posed by Ingram, Rob Collard and Goff in the lower reaches of the top ten also helped to focus Jackson's attention, and they continued to drop back.

Meanwhile Jordan's progress had slowed. After getting into 22nd in the opening laps, further gains became increasingly difficult, and he struggled to clear Jack Clarke's 18th-placed Focus in the latter stages of the race. However when Clarke and Depper collided at Montreal, the champion was through, but Rob Holland and Glenn Geddie were too far up the road by this stage, and Jordan failed to score a point.

There was no such trouble for Plato, who held Turkington at bay for the duration, the gap just under two seconds at the finish. Almost 15 seconds behind, Neal completed the podium, but there would be no joy for Ingram, as a wheel came off his Toyota at the end,, leaving him a lap down.

Race two will take place at 14:35 today. Click here to download the full result.

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race one
1, Jason Plato, MG, MG6, 12 Laps
2, Colin Turkington, eBay Motors, BMW 125i, +1.924s
3, Matt Neal, Honda Racing, Honda Civic, +14.185s
4, Adam Morgan, WIX Racing, Mercedes A-Class, +15.194s
5, Alain Menu, Team BMR, VW Passat, +17.686s
6, Aron Smith, Team BMR, VW Passat, +18.954s
7, Gordon Shedden, Honda Racing, Honda Civic, +19.590s
8, Mat Jackson, Airwaves Racing, Ford Focus, +21.042s
9, Rob Collard, eBay Motors, BMW 125i, +21.337s
10, Jack Goff, Team BMR, VW Passat, +23.038s

Raceday tickets for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Snetterton are available on the gate for £32, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.