Jason Plato continued to be the man to beat at Oulton Park after claiming his second win of the day in the second BTCC race in Cheshire to move into the championship lead by six points.
The two KX Momentum Racing MGs again made great starts from the front row of the grid after their maiden 1-2 finish in race one, Colin Turkington making a typical lightning start to leap through from fifth to third place in the rear-wheel drive eBay Motors BMW.
The story of the race then became the defence of second by Sam Tordoff, the second MG starting on the BTCC’s new softer tyre compound for the second race, one that saw him fighting a rear-guard action as the race went on.
The race was briefly brought under safety car conditions to remove the blown Vauxhall Insignia of Team HARD‘s Jack Goff, leading to two crucial advantageous overtakes from the Yuasa Racing Honda duo of Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal. Neal dived inside Andrew Jordan‘s Eurotech Civic into Druids corner for fifth place with slight contact, while seconds later Shedden caught out Turkington into Lodge for third just before the safety car boards were shown, making the two passing moves perfectly legal.
On the restart, Plato immediately bolted from his team-mate who began to form a train of BTCC cars behind him, until Shedden finally made a decisive cutback overtaking move to the inside of Tordoff into Old Hall on lap eight, the reigning champion setting off in pursuit of Plato’s 1.3s lead.
Plato responded in style with a fastest lap to extend his gap to over two seconds, one which extended to just over 3.1s by the time the winner reached the flag for Plato’s fourth win of the 2013 season as Shedden finished a comfortable second ahead of a fierce fight behind for third, Turkington the man coming through to snatch the final podium spot after a great fight with Tordoff.
Tordoff’s softer tyres had finally started to degrade in the Cheshire heat, Turkington eventually finding a way by the wide MG6 with a better drive into Old Hall on lap 14 of the 17-lap encounter, before Neal scythed down the inside of Tordoff into the hairpin two corners later for fourth.
A lap later, Jordan repeated the move with a touch more door-to-door contact to grab fifth, Mat Jackson also trying the same move himself on the following tour at the hairpin. However, the Motorbase Ford and the Triple Eight MG made more significant contact on the exit of the corner, the wallop damaging the right-rear suspension of Tordoff’s car and also damagaing his Ford sparring partner, Tordoff failing to score points for the first time in 2013.
Through the incident came the Speedworks and Ciceley Racing Toyotas of Dave Newsham and Adam Morgan, while a rapid start from Rob Austin paid dividends for the Audi man who finished eighth having started 13th, Dan Welch and Jeff Smith rounding out the top 10.
Smith’s 10th place will become pole position for the day’s third and final reverse-grid race at 17:15 later today, Plato starting 10th on the grid after the top 10 finishers were drawn to be reversed following the race.
Despite a podium for Turkington, the rest of the eBay Motors team had a race to forget, Nick Foster making unintentional contact with his own team-mate Rob Collard in the early laps at the hairpin, Collard left facing the wrong way before retiring shortly afterwards.
In the Jack Sears Trophy once again it was Lea Wood who claimed victory for a class-heading fifth time this season, finishing just under two seconds clear of his nearest rival Liam Griffin.