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Jason Plato wins from Alex MacDowall, Matt Neal spins

Jason Plato has won the first British Touring Car race around the new Snetterton 300 circuit, with his team-mate Alex MacDowall following him home in second. There was a dramatic start to the race when current championship leader Matt Neal attempted to go around the outside of Plato at the first corner, only to spin across the field and drop down to last.

Click here for the full Round 16 Results.

On the run down to Riches at the start Neal lined himself up for a pass around the outside of the works Chevrolet. However contact pitched Neal into a spin right in front of the chasing pack – although remarkably no-one made contact with the Honda. It may prove to be a decisive moment in the championship battle for Neal was only able to recover to 18th to take home no points and he will suffer from starting race two down in 18th position.

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There was some good news for the Honda Racing team however as Gordon Shedden, who had started on the front row, finished in third.

Frank Wrathall continued his superb form to finish in fourth. The Dynojet racer had been pressuring Tom Chilton in the early laps until a mistake by Chilton at Riches on lap 6 allowed Wrathall through. It is the first time the driver of an NGTC-spec car has scored points and it by far marks Wrathall’s strongest result in the series.

A poor start for James Nash meant that he was passed by Chilton away from the line. Wrathall passed him on the following lap, demoting him to sixth. However when Chilton slowed on the final lap Nash was able to move back up and finish in fifth.

A race-long battle between Mat Jackson and Paul O’Neill saw the duo glued bumper-to-bumper for most of the time. O’Neill applied ample pressure to Jackson but was unable to find a way past the turbo-engined Ford, leaving Jackson to finish in sixth and O’Neill seventh.

The top Team Aon driver was Tom Onslow-Cole in eighth after team-mate Chilton suffered problems on the final lap. Chilton, however, crossed the line in ninth. David Newsham took the final point for tenth.

Pirtek Racing had a difficult race – Jeff Smith finished in front of his team-mate Andrew Jordan for only the second time this year, although neither scored any points in 11th and 12th respectively.

Martin Byford had a strong début race for AmD Milltek Racing – finishing in 14th position and staying out of trouble.

Less fortunate was Rob Austin – the NGTC Audi racer suffered a spin on lap 3 after contact from Nick Foster, dropping him down the order. Austin was as low as 19th after the spin but he fought his way back up to 15th, setting the 8th fastest lap in the process.

Another driver making his first start in the BTCC this weekend was Daniel Welch – the Proton Gen-2 driver finished in 22nd despite running as high as 14th at one stage.

Race two takes place at 14:40 GMT today.

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