Jason Plato has won again in race two at Brands Hatch – getting his championship challenge off to an immediately strong start. Chevrolet’s Plato was 2 seconds ahead of Gordon Shedden at the chequered flag, with Mat Jackson finishing in third.
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The race began with Plato getting off to a strong start whilst Tom Chilton, who finished third in the opening race, suffered with excessive wheel-spin and lost several places away from the lights. Plato’s team-mate Alex MacDowall appeared to get off to a good start – too good to be true it soon transpired – and he was handed a drive-through penalty for jumping the start.
There was contact between Tom Boardman in his Special Tuning Racing SEAT Leon and Tom Onslow-Cole in his AmD Volkswagen Golf at the first corner which brought out the safety car and ended both driver’s races.
Plato had to withstand heavy pressure from Jackson in the early stages of the race. However in the closing stages of the race Jackson’s pace fell off slightly, allowing the hard charging Shedden to catch up and eventually pass with a few laps to go. The Honda driver had initially started from sixth and demonstrated impressive pace in the Civic – setting the second fastest lap to team-mate Matt Neal.
James Nash took fourth for Triple Eight to continue his strong start to the season. Paul O’Neill finished in fifth for Tech-Speed.
Andrew Jordan had a strong second race to sixth position, having suffered a puncture in the first race that meant he had to start from 16th this time. Just behind him was a resurgent Matt Neal, who raced from 21st on the grid to seventh by the end of the race – again demonstrating that the Honda’s strengths in overtaking from the back of the field.
Tom Chilton, who suffered from a poor start, was later caught and passed by both Jordan and Neal towards the end of the race. He managed to finish in eighth but had fallen back from the hard charging duo in front by the end of the race.
Rob Collard and Tony Gilham completed the points positions with ninth and tenth respectively. David Newsham, who eventually finished in 11th, spent the latter part of the race battling hard with Collard for the honours of top BMW racer, with the WSR racer coming out on top. Nevertheless it was a strong race for Clio Cup graduate Newsham in only his second-ever BTCC race.
After his earlier penalty Alex MacDowall finished in 13th. Behind him both John George (15th) and Jeff Smith (16th) had late-race offs into the paddock hill gravel trap. Liam Griffin took his first BTCC race finish in 18th position and Tony Hughes recorded the first race finish for the new NGTC cars, crossing the line in 19th and last.