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TCF BTCC Fans Top 10 Drivers ’00-’09: Number 4

Having 18kgs of ballast applied to his car is the 2001 BTCC Champion, the 2006, 2007 and 2009 series runner up, and who gave Seat a win in their debut race in 2004. With 30 votes, 4th overall is Jason Plato.

Jason, one of the most successful BTCC drivers ever, with 53 wins to his name since his debut back in 1997, is a definite favourite with the crowds, with his on track abilities, and to some people, the on track villain due to his squabbles with Matt Neal over the years.

Jason's 2001 success wasn't without controversial moments, and with a frosty relationship with Yvan Muller, with whom he was team mates in 2000 and 2001. Jason won 8 races but won the title in dramatic style with Yvan Mullers car blowing up.

Jason returned in 2004, with the new Seat Sport UK squad and the potent Toledo model, and took a win in the opening race at Thruxton, before going on to finish the season 3rd overall, with 7 wins, 2005 saw Jason take 3 wins and 4th overall.

2006 – A new car for Plato and the Seat Sport squad, as the new Leon model made its debut with Jason taking 8 wins during the season on his way to second overall in the Championship. 2006 saw a heated rivalry with Matt Neal, and on more than one occasion during the season they had contact.

2007 saw a new, more focused Plato, and with the Leon, finished second overall again in the Championship, having led from the season opener until the final race of the season. Jason took 6 wins, and 30 points finishes but it wasn't enough. Just before the season finale, Jason suffered serious burns after a car he was testing for TV Programme Fifth Gear caught fire. Jason was in pain and missed out by 3 points.

2008 – Seat Leon Tdi. 3rd place overall with 8 wins, lost second to 2009 team mate Mat Jackson in the final race of the season. Jason won 6 races during the second half of the season but was let down with engine reliability problems.

With Seat withdrawing from the BTCC at the end of 2008, Jason was left without a drive. 3 days before Brands Hatch, a deal was concluded with RML to race one of their Lacetti's. Jason inherited the race 3 win after being spun by Jonny Adam and ended the season second, after finding the sweet spot in the car, setting 3 pole positions in the second half of the season and proving that the Lacetti was the fastest car overall. Jason also became the second driver to take all 3 wins in a day at Brands Hatch, and helped him pass Fabrizio Giovanardi for second, and left him within 5 points of the title.