Jason Plato took the first win for the Chevrolet Cruze in the British Touring Car Championship as he moved into the championship lead.

Plato had taken the points lead after finishing third in the first race of the weekend at the Rockingham track, replacing Fabrizio Giovanardi whose one-off appearance at Thruxton had ended at the top of the early championship.

However, it was in race two where Plato shone brightest, passing the Hondas of Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal on the inside, even before they had reach the first turn. He was able to leap out of an early lead of over a second and only saw a serious challenge on the very last lap as Rob Collard closed up to the Cruze's rear bumper, pushing it around the final complex of corners at the Brook Chicane only to fall short at the line by just under half a second.

“There's still plenty of scope for us to get even more out of the car,” said Plato who now lead Matt Neal in the championship by 17 points. “We proved today that our car is capable of winning races, and the changes we made between the first and second races saw us improve the car considerably – but I think we'll be even faster as the season progresses.”

Plato Silverline Chevrolet teammate Alex MacDowall endured a barren weekend, struggling with what turned out to be the wrong tyre choice in the first race, dropping him into the midfield where incidents in both the second and third races prevented him from adding to the 11 points he had accumulated at Thurxton.

The team only have to wait a week before their next event, with the BTCC racing on the full Brands Hatch GP layout this weekend (May 1-2).

Photo credit: Vince Pettit Photography