Jason Plato made it two wins from two British Touring Car Championship races at Brands Hatch – taking the spoils in the second race of the day despite the intervention of a safety car.
The MG driver had built a comfortable cushion over Andrew Jordan and the charging Gordon Shedden, whose miserable day continued when he was excluded from the results for a technical infringement, when the safety car was called with only a few laps remaining.
Plato led from the start but behind him Rob Austin passed Jordan off the line and challenged Plato into turn one, but had to settle for second behind the MG.
Colin Turkington, fast-starting from 8th, was punted off at Paddock at the start of the second lap by Frank Wrathall, while Aron Smith came into the pits the same lap with the Motorbase Ford struggling with a misfire.
Ollie Jackson was forced to pit with damage after hitting the barriers on the exit of turn one but amid the drama of the opening three laps the Honda duo had worked their way up to inside the top ten after starting 19th and 21st.
Shedden was soon sixth, passing Sam Tordoff at Clearways, while Mat Jackson was up to 10th having split the Hondas on the grid.
eBay Motors’ troublesome weekend continued as Rob Collard entered the pitlane but on track Wrathall and Jordan were pressuring Austin for second, the Civic slipping by at the start of lap six into Paddock – though by this stage Plat was 3.3s clear.
Shedden, lapping several tenths quicker than the leaders, made short work of Jeff Smith, putting the no.1 Honda fifth with only a third of the race one. This became third soon after as Wrathall, eager to chase down Jordan, hit Austin on the exit of Druids, spinning the Audi – which would pit with damage as a result.
While Shedden’s progress was relentless teammate Neal was engulfed in a five-car battle for fourth – headed by Smith – as David Nye caused a safety car, his S2000 Focus in the Druids gravel after hitting the back of Warren Scott.
As the marshals cleared the Focus, Plato’s four-second lead was eradicated – but at the restart, he got the better of the chasing Jordan, whose mirrors were full of Shedden.
Behind them, Wrathall was suddenly in the gravel at Druids, and as they started the final lap the defending champion showed his nose into turn one, though Jordan wouldn’t budge.
Despite the intervention of the safety car it was Plato who took the win, making it two from two so far in 2013. Jordan held off Shedden for second and Pirtek teammate Smith just did the same to Neal, who passed Tordoff for fifth into Surtees on the final lap.
However, Shedden subsequently failed the post-race ride height check and was excluding from the results, elevating Smith to third.
Liam Griffin claimed S2000 honours having just got the better of race one winner James Kaye after a race long battle.
Behind Tordoff in the second MG, Adam Morgan, Mat Jackson (who will start the reversed-grid race three from pole), the recovering Colin Turkington, Dave Newsham and Nick Foster completed the top ten – and there were points for James Cole (13th) and Dan Welch (14th, stuck in sixth gear).