After being spun out back to tenth in race one, Jason Plato took advantage of some first lap drama and a lack of success ballast to storm through to win the second race of the Oulton Park afternoon in the BTCC.
Much of Plato's work was done on that first lap. While pole-sitter Tom Onslow-Cole led Gordon Sheddon around the Island hairpin on the far side of the track, Onslow-Cole's teammate Tom Chilton spun third placed Rob Collards.
Collard's West Surrey Racing BMW pivoted 180 degrees facing into traffic, though mercifully at the slowest point on the track. Those behind were faced with a choice – right, to the inside, of left to the outside. Plato, in the midst of an overtaking move on his teammate Alex MacDowall, picked left making his may around the stranded BMW.
MacDowall was not so lucky, caught in an area of indecision as the field concertinaed in chaos he could do nothing but make nose-to-nose contact with Collard's car. Despite damage both cars were able to continue.
Unaffected by the action Onslow-Cole lead the first lap by eight-tenths from Gordon Sheddon, Mat Jackson had inherited third place ahead of first lap agitator Chilton and Plato in fifth position, which would become fourth when Sheddon slowed midway round lap two with a driveshaft failure on his Honda Civic.
Having been handed to slices of luck, it was left to Plato to cut his own pieces for the rest of the race, first passing Chilton on the straight leading to the Knickerbrook chicane before latching onto the back of Mat Jackson – stalking the leading pair. Staring at the rear bumper of Jackson's airwaves BMW you could have forgiven Plato for thinking of race one, when it Jackson who barged his Chevrolet into a spin at Cascades. Would Plato seek some sort of revenge for the move – which only saw Jackson given two penalty points?
In the end Plato's answer was physical, but far less controversial, pushing Jackson wide at the hairpin and nipping neatly up the inside, charging up to Onslow-Cole, preparing for a move that was anything but polite.
It was a similar story on lap nine, Plato again tried to push his rival wide, but the contact was rather heavier that Plato intended – the hit pushing the front of the Cruze up into an angry snarl. The damage looked serious, the big front grill pushed down the left hand headlight pushed up, but Plato carried on regardless, passing Onslow-Cole one corner later into the chicane.
Having lost the lead the defensive driving that had been Onslow-Cole's calling card for the first one-and-a-half race went away, as he practically handed Matt Neal a lap later, and seemingly settling for third.
Neal too, had forced his way through the field, though with less ease than Plato. However, like Plato his drive was typically physically, highlight by a bludgeoning move at Lodge Corner on Tom Chilton.
The already considerable damage bill in race two was added to by the fight over the final points positions. With Dave Pinkney holding ninth in the closing laps, with Lee Wood in tenth in his Central Group Racing Honda Integra in tenth, with John George behind.
Sadly for the group of independents it was all to end in damage, and each would lose out in their own way
George out-braked himself into Lodge smashing into Wood pushing him to Pinkney's Vectra – though the Vauxhall's slab-like rear appeared almost entirely undamaged compared to Wood's Integra. The contact delayed all three, and would eventually end George's race with engine troubles, allowing the recovering (and also damaged) Alex MacDowall. The works Cruze made short work of Wood to enter the points before overhauling Pinkney for ninth (and two points) on the final drag up to the checkered flag.
It was a move made all the more important when the number nine was picked for the final race's reverse grid, putting MacDowall on pole. Tom Boardman will start the final race from second, with James Nash and Chilton on row two.
BTCC Oulton Park Race Two Results
1. No.2 – Jason Plato 15 laps in 22:22.567
2. No.4 – Matt Neal +0.749
3. No.21 – Tom Onslow-Cole +3.483
4. No.5 – Mat Jackson +4.921
5. No.11 – Steven Kane +9.378
6. No.23 – Tom Chilton +12.016
7. No.14 – James Nash +12.328
8. No.22 – Tom Boardman +13.134
9. No.20 – Alex MacDowall +37.184
10. No.55 – Dave Pinkney +37.227