Jason Plato celebrated a return to the very top of the British Touring Car formbook, scoring a win and two further podiums from the series' Snetterton weekend, putting himself right back in the title fight after Matt Neal endured a difficult weekend.
Plato scored a second successive pole in the series, but still had to defend from a fast starting Neal on the opening corner for the first race. The two rivals – no strangers to contact and controversy – got tangled up on the exit of the corner, Neal spinning across the track while Plato maintained the lead.
In race two, however, it was Plato's turn to be pushed out of the lead, being the unlucky man at the front of a chain reaction bump fest under braking for the Montreal Hairpin on lap one. Pushed wide Plato fell to fourth place initially but was able to pass Frank Wrathall to claim the final step on the podium. Neal meanwhile suffered a puncture during the race which ended a fine charge into the top ten.
If the first race had seen Plato best result, then you could say the final race played host to his best racing. Starting from sixth on the reversed grid Plato fought up to fourth, catching Dave Newsham, who had slipped back from pole position during the first few laps of the 12 lap race.
Plato remained latched onto the rear of Newsham's SEAT, and appeared set to take advantage of any driving errors even pulling alongside to challenge when Newsham ran wide out of the hairpin. The SEAT, now on the inside line for the next corner and powered by the NGTC-spec turbocharged engine was able to pull infront again.
The fine battle – which the drivers has since communicated about through Twitter – came to an end on the penultimate lap, Plato getting ahead as the pair exited the Esses.
The three podium places move Plato up to 138 point, just twenty shy of new championship leader Mat Jackson who won his fourth race of the year in the weekend's final race.
Alex MacDowall added another podium to Silverline Chevrolet's haul of trophies from the weekend, the BTCC sophomore enjoying his best meeting of the year.
The 20-year-old spent much of the three races behind his championship winning teammate, taking second in the team's first 1-2 finish of 2011 in race one. He followed Plato to fourth in race two and passed Newsham out of the final corner for a fifth in the final race, a resurgent Matt Neal able to get between the two Cruzes.