BTCC Croft Race 3: Plato Takes Last Win Before Summer Break

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BTCC Croft 2012 (Photo Credit:

Round 15 of the BTCC saw a very frantic, and somewhat disrupted scene of events for all concerned, with the chaos starting on the very first lap, as Team HARD's Tony Gilham found himself at the mercy of the gravel trap, bringing out the first of two Safety Car periods during the race. As the cars raced into the first corner, the eBay Motors duo of Nick Foster and Rob Collard got out in front, with MG KX Momentum Racing's Andy Neate lying in third, who responded instantly, and took back second at the very next corner.

After the Safety Car peeled into the pit lane after just one lap, Foster edged out a slight gap from Neate, with Tom Onslow-Cole finding his car to be a bit tail-happy, with the WSR driver allowing Dynojet's Frank Wrathall to take advantage, and find his way to third.

Honda Yuasa Racing's series leading pair of Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden were lined up in 9th and 10th respectively for race three at Croft, with the defending champion putting a car between himself and his Scottish team mate, before “Flash” was on Neal's tail pipe, as he secured 9th place at Tower. Neate, however, was closing on Foster, trying to pressure an error or to make his way to the lead once again.

But further drama was to add a bit more spice to the final race of the day, as there was contact between BINZ Racing's Lea Wood and Redstone Racing's Liam Griffin, with flames emerging rapidly from the front of Griffin's Focus, after the coming together at Tower. The Safety Car was deployed for the next 6 laps, as the ever efficient marshals cleared up the remains of the accident at Tower, and then it became a 7 lap shoot out for glory, in the last race before the summer break.

Neate was back in front, while Plato had been lying in wait, as he made his way past Wrathall for P3, with Onslow-Cole quickly following suit past the Toyota NGTC driver for P4. Neate was then under pressure from the two-time champion and Fifth Gear presenter, as Collard dropped down the order, and Plato surged into the lead, as Neate made a slight error, by cutting the chicane, whilst trying to defend his lead, which was all Plato needed, taking the lead from Neate at Tower. By this time, Onslow-Cole, Andrew Jordan, Neal and Collard were in the right place to possibly take the glory and the spoils.

Neate went down to fourth place by the end of lap 15, and the battle for third place had really changed, as Andrew Jordan got third place, whilst Matt Neal was doing his thing, trying to force his way past Collard. Neate was then passed by Neal for fourth, with the MG driver finding himself slipping ever further down the order, finishing 9th.

Plato secured his second win of the season as the chequered flag was waved at the end of an exciting 18 lap race in Yorkshire, with Onslow-Cole and Jordan joining the MG driver on the podium, with Neal and Collard rounding out the top five. Shedden found his way into sixth, ahead of Rob Austin, Foster, Neate and Dan Welch.

Now as the BTCC heads off into the sunset for a seven-week hiatus, before the wheels turn again in anger, Neal is ahead of Shedden by one point, with Plato 29 points behind the series leader. Collard and Jordan are both in joint fourth, just 50 points off the lead, with racing resuming once again at Snetterton.

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