BTCCTouring Cars

BTCC Brands Hatch Race Two: Domination – Plato Romps To Win Again

3 Mins read

Jason Plato added a second win to his tally at Brands Hatch, continuing a tremendous start to the British Touring Car season.

After starting from pole by virtue of his race one win the reigning champion led race two from flag to flag in race two, under largely minimal pressure from Mat Jackson who ran second for much of the race.

The Airwaves Racing driver had fallen into second after the first lap. Tom Chilton made a nightmare start from third on the grid – dropping down to seventh – and Jackson clung on around the outside of James Nash at Paddock Hill Bend from the start. Nash briefly got very sideways on the drop down hill, in what briefly looked destined to be another of the weekend's big accidents. However, Nash gathered the 888 Vectra back into a straight line, though he dropped back to fourth, Alex MacDowall following Jackson through.

Behind Tom Boardman's ill luck continued. One of a number of very fast starters from the back of the grid – Andrew Jordan and Matt Neal also included – Boardman charged up the inside towards the apex of the first corner only to find his path blocked by Tom OnslowCole's AmD Volkswagen. The speed differential ensured that contact was inevitable and Boardman's last minute attempt to take to grass insufficient to avoid it, and the safety car was once more called out while the SEAT and VW were recovered from the track.

A broken Boardman ends his race early with a spinning Onslow-Cole

Unlike in race one Plato was unable to jump into a lead after the safety car period, Jackson instead latching onto the bumper of the Chevrolet Cruze on the restart, but Jackson himself was soon under pressure from Gordon Shedden.

Shedden had been handed third after the safety car period when Alex MacDowall was called in to serve a drive-through penalty for jumping the start and as the first man on the grid without any ballast from race one was always likely to be a threat from sixth on the grid.

Despite the extra weight Jackson appeared a match for the rapid Civic, holding off Shedden as both they and fourth place Nash began to close in on Plato, the front four concertinaing into a little more than a second for a few laps.

However, Jackson soon began to drop away – his Ford Focus seemingly losing far more pace than Nash's Vectra in race on and with only three laps left Jackson's defending was finally undone, but only after half a lap of side-by-side battling with Shedden. Jackson had initially run wide at Druids, allowing Shedden by, only for the little red Airwaves devil to retake the place at Graham Hill Bend.

The pair then frantically jostled down the short blast of Cooper Straight, before Jackson ran wide again at Clearways allowing Shedden alongside down the front straight, Jackson finally yielding half down the straight, settling for third.

However, just as Shedden's race one charge was the performance of race one, it was charges through the pack which provided much of the excitement again in race two.

Both Andrew Jordan and Matt Neal started from the rear of the field after race one problems and they proceeded to march through the rest of the grid in tandem throughout the race.

Like Shedden they were inside the top ten after only a matter of laps – Jordan leading the pair inheriting tenth as MacDowall's drive-through rippled through the order.

Rob Collard, Tony Gilham, Dave Newsham and Chilton were all inhaled by the advancing pair on their way to sixth and seventh, Neal breaking the lap record in the process with a time of 48.498 seconds. It was a story ended by the drawing of seven in the grid inversion for the third race, giving Matt Neal the pole position in a repeat of the front row for the season opener. Also included in the grid inversion in Paul O'Neill who drove a quiet race to fifth place.

Tom Chilton is the first man outside the reverse grid in eighth, Collard and Gilham completed the points positions.

BTCC Brands Hatch Race Two Results (unofficial)

  No Driver Team Gap
1 1 Jason Plato Silverline Chevrolet 26 laps in 22:21.689
2 52 Gordon Shedden Honda Racing Team +2.182
3 7 Mat Jackson Airwaves Racing +2.588
4 14 James Nash 888 with Collins Contractors +3.001
5 29 Paul O'Neill with Tech-Speed +4.232
6 77 Andrew Jordan Pirtek Racing +5.859
7 2 Matt Neal Honda Racing Team +6.286
8 5 Tom Chilton Team Aon +9.868
9 8 Rob Collard WSR +11.816
10 17 Dave Newsham Geoff Steel Racing +16.019
11 34 Tony Gilham 888 with Collins Contractors +16.526
12 44 Andy Neate Team Aon +17.468
13 20 Alex MacDowall Silverline Chevrolet +22.893
14 18 Nick Foster WSR +28.476
15 28 John George with Tech-Speed +31.259
16 55 Jeff Smith Pirtek Racing +31.395
17 78 Chris James Team ES Racing +1 Lap
18 66 Liam Griffin Airwaves Racing +1 Lap
19 50 Tony Hughes Speedworks +3 Laps
DNF 99 Tom Onslow-Cole AmD Milltek Racing 1 Lap
DNF 22 Tom Boardman Special Tuning Racing 0 Laps
DNS 12 Dave Pinkney Rob Austin Racing  

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James is our Diet-Coke fuelled writer and has been with TCF pretty much since day 1, he can be found frequenting twitter at @_JBroomhead
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