Jason Plato used all of his defensive abilities to claim a second Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship win of the season for BMR Racing, beating West Surrey Racing‘s Rob Collard to the flag in a Thruxton thriller.
Pole-sitter Plato lost out to the fast-starting BMW 125i of Collard when the lights went out for the day’s second encounter at the Hampshire circuit, while behind them contact between Adam Morgan‘s Mercedes and Andy Priaulx‘s BMW at Allard sent the pack scattering as the latter spun through the right-hander.
A second spin for Priaulx at the Complex a corner later came from contact also, while avoiding action taken by Josh Cook (Power Maxed Racing) and Jeff Smith (Eurotech) saw both pick up advertising hoardings that bunched the pack as they trailed back to the pits.
Plato only needed two laps before he was leading, the Volkswagen CC sweeping around the outside of Collard heading into the final chicane.
The race boiled down to a straight fight between the two, but a clean one as Plato defended his line in the final half of the race to rebuff the BMW man and clinch a narrow second win of the season.
Third place went to race one winner Gordon Shedden, the Honda Yuasa Racing driver now leading the championship after beating the charging Triple Eight MG6 GT of Jack Goff, who climbed from 10th to fourth.
One place he gained was through erstwhile championship leader, Matt Neal, who suffered a puncture when he tagged Aron Smith‘s Volkswagen CC into a half-spin at the Complex on lap seven. Smith then fell backwards during the race, finishing 11th by the time they completed the 16-lapper.
Fifth place went to Colin Turkington in another BMR Racing Volkswagen, while Sam Tordoff held Andrew Jordan‘s MG at bay for sixth, Morgan recovering to eighth ahead of Audi’s Rob Austin and the second Mercedes of Aiden Moffat.
Tom Ingram and Warren Scott were both forced to pit during the race with damage, neither classified at the flag.
The top eight cars will be reversed for race three of the day, Morgan starting from pole position as a result.
Race three gets underway at 5:17, and you can keep up with the action here at www.thecheckeredflag.co.uk, or via Twitter at @tcfBTCC.