Plato Wins Red-Flagged Race 1

Race 1 of the Oulton Park weekend of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship was won by Jason Plato of Team BMR, with the Volkswagen driver putting in a performance as dominant as expected, given his pace yesterday.

Plato started from pole position alongside Honda Yuasa Racing‘s Matt Neal, with row two made up of Andy Priaulx (West Surrey Racing BMW) and Andrew Jordan (MG Triple Eight Racing). Despite a good start by Priaulx, it was Plato that led into the first corner. On the run down to Cascades, Matt Neal was able to use his Honda’s momentum to retake 2nd position from the BMW driver. By the end of the first lap, Plato had increased his lead to 1.3 seconds, with Neal already starting to pull away from Priaulx.

By lap 4, an close battle for 5th position was starting, with Gordon Shedden (Honda Yuasa Racing) leading the two BMR Volkswagens of Colin Turkington and Aron Smith. No overtaking in this battle took place until lap 6 when Turkington ran straight ahead at the Island hairpin, forcing the 2014 champion to complete the full lap, pushing him back to 25th position, and place that he wouldn’t improve from. The P5 battle now consisted of Shedden, Smith and MG 888’s Jack Goff, with the Honda driver struggling with the success ballast. On lap 9, Smith overtook Shedden for fifth place.

With the race entering its final laps, Andy Priaulx was closing the gap to 2nd place Matt Neal, but was repeatedly getting warnings for not respecting track limits.

The safety car came out on lap 13 when Stewart Lines made contact with Alex Martin, resulting in the former crashing into the tyre barrier at the pit entry. The race was run for a lap behind the safety car but was ultimately red-flagged, with the crash taking too long for the marshals to clear up.

The race therefore officially ended after lap 13, instead of the scheduled 15 circuits. Jason Plato won by 3.2 seconds, followed by Matt Neal, half a second in front of Andy Priaulx. Andrew Jordan and Aron Smith were next, followed by Gordon Shedden, Jack Goff and Tom Ingram. Sam Tordoff and Dave Newsham complete the top 10.

Jason Plato now leads the championship with 125 points, just 1 point more than Shedden. With 120 points is Matt Neal.

Race 2 will start at 15:30.