After starting 20th after his retirement from the second race Jason Plato romped through the British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) field to take a second win of the day at Silverstone.
Plato’s progress up the order was startling, no more so than when the MG KX Momentum Racing driver came up against Andrew Jordan and Gordon Shedden in their Honda Civics. On both occasions the MG 6 blasted past the Civics on the Wellington Straight, able to pull at least a car length ahead even before braking for Brooklands.
Once past the two Hondas only the eBay Motors backed BMW of Rob Collard and Nick Foster lay between Plato and another maximum points haul. The two M3s were quickly dispatched for Plato to lead lap 12 of 22, the third race the only one of the day not prolonged by a safety car. Over the remaining laps Plato pulled out a four second lead, despite race two winner Mat Jackson coming through to second place having started from tenth.
Jackson, the NGTC Focus now laden with success ballast after his superb drive earlier could do nothing to hold back Plato on his way to front and once the MG was ahead could only follow Plato up the order, Jackson taking second from Foster with five laps remaining.
Foster had taken advantage of a combination of pole position, the rear-wheel-drive propelled getaway, and a coming together between two more prospective first time winners when bickering over second place.
Daniel Welch and Rob Austin had both been handed starts in the front three rows and with rear-wheel-drive power had risen up the order. At the start of lap three Welch tried to take second from Austin on the inside of the first corner, but contact sent both spinning and those immediately behind scattering to avoid the spinning twosome, Collard the chief beneficiary as he moved from fifth to second in the space of a corner.
Collard gradually reeled in his BMW teammate, the lead cut from 2.4 to 1.4 seconds before Collard lost out to a rampant Plato for second.
Finishing in sixth behind Plato, Jackson and the eBay triplets – Collard, Foster and Tom Onslow-Cole – Gordon Shedden had his championship lead cut for the first time of the day, down to just 15 points with just the three races of the Brands Hatch finale weekend left on the calendar.
Andrew Jordan, Adam Morgan, Rob Austin (fighting back after dropping to 17th after his clash with Welch) and Aron Smith completed the top ten.
Jeff Smith, Howard Fuller, Chris James, Will Bratt and Welch completing the those to score points, Welch dropping back after coming out on the wrong end of a battle for position after being bumped wide at Becketts by Jeff Smith.
Notably absent once more from the points scorers was Matt Neal, the defending champion leaving the track where he sealed his 2011 title with a ‘perfect’ record of failing to score in all three races. The end of his race three came after contact with Lea Wood as he tried to pass the privateer round the outside of Brooklands. The two cars slid toward the barrier, Wood’s Vectra delivering the coup de grace pushing Neal’s Civic in the barrier, with an another fire flaring up in the stationary Honda.
Neal now lies 31 point behind Gordon Shedden in the championship standings, 16 down on Plato facing an uphill struggle of an almost vertical degree at Brands Hatch if he is to retain the title ahead of his historic rival and his teammate.