Plato Leads MG One-Two In Damp Donington Opener

Jason Plato converted his Saturday pole position into a first British Touring Car Championship race victory of 2014 during a damp first race at Donington Park, leading an MG one-two.

With wet tyres proving the chosen option on a greasy circuit, the double champion claimed his first win at the Leicester circuit since 2008, leading the race from lights-to-flag as he thwarted the fast-starting Colin Turkington from attacking into the first corner.

It quickly became an MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save BTCC Team one-two, as Turkington’s WSR BMW 125i slipped behind Sam Tordoff‘s MG6 GT, which took second position heading through Craner Curves.

The Northern Irishman then surrendered a place to Gordon Shedden‘s Honda Civic Tourer later around the congested opening lap, while Andrew Jordan began to put on a charge from seventh place on the grid with 45 kilos of penalty ballast weighing him down.

Jordan quickly took fifth place away from Aron Smith, before relieving Shedden of fourth heading out of Redgate with a neat cut-back heading into the downhill Craner Curves.

The Pirtek Racing man completed his charge by disposing of the BMW of Turkington into Redgate, the reigning BTCC champion quickly followed by the charging second eBay Motors BMW of Rob Collard, which had started down in 13th on the grid.

Plato and Tordoff were imperious at the head of the field however, edging away by a cushion of over six seconds by the time they took an MG one-two, Plato’s 83rd victory in BTCC.

Turkington and Shedden fell back somewhat, finishing fifth and sixth ahead of Fabrizio Giovanardi – picking up a best result of 2014 with seventh for Motorbase Performance.

The Italian dispatched Matt Neal at Redgate in the closing stages of the 16-lap encounter, Smith finishing ahead of Tom Ingram who got the better of Marc Hynes in a final lap dice for 10th position that was sorted out at Redgate.

Dave Newsham was involved in an eventful race, two incidents with Adam Morgan leading to excursions which he soon recovered from up to 12th, the AmD Tuning driver one of the quickest on the circuit as he carved his way through the field.

Rob Austin meanwhile eventually became the fastest man on track, but finished two laps down having pitted for slick tyres during the race in his Audi A4.

Jordan holds onto the championship lead thanks to his charge to the final podium position, but only by two points from Plato who will carry the maximum 45kgs of ballast.

Race two gets underway at 14:27, and you can follow all the action from Donington with The Checkered Flag, and via Twitter at @tcfBTCC.