Jason Plato made it two wins from two races at Brands Hatch, as he won the penultimate race of the 2014 British Touring Car Championshp season ahead of WIX Racing’s Adam Morgan and Sam Tordoff.
In a classic touring car encounter, Plato was one of a number of drivers who looked as though they could take the win, but his victory was marred by an incident between himself and new champion Colin Turkington, who was eliminated from the race at Paddock Hill bend on lap four as the pair vied for the lead.
It was Turkington who jumped into the lead when the race started, holding a clear first place through turn one. There looked as though there might be a similar incident to the one that occurred in race one as a charging Mat Jackson found himself sandwiched between the two MGs of Plato and Tordoff in the battle for second, before the latter yielded the position with Jackson slotting into third.
The safety car was nevertheless deployed when moments later Alain Menu appeared to lose his Team BMR Restart Volkswagen CC through the corner, sliding uncontrollably backwards into the infield tyre wall and subsequent retirement.
With the incident able to be cleared relatively quickly, however, the race resumed at the start of lap three as Turkington attempted to break away at the front. Unable to do so, the action came to a head one lap further round as Plato made an optimistic lunge for the lead into Paddock Hill, only to punt the rear of the BMW, sending Turkington into the gravel trap for his third retirement of the season. The MG driver was later penalised for the crash, and as it was his third offence, will start race three from the rear of the field.
As Plato recovered from the incident, Jackson stole into the lead and looked to immediately build a gap, only to run wide on the exit of Westfield before spinning down the order. That meant that Rob Collard – who had started the first race of the day in 23rd – inherited the lead of the race, having himself found a way past Plato, before the safety car was deployed once more.
One lap was once again the only break needed, with Collard leading the field away for a second restart. There was yet more action lower in the order though, as Fabrizio Giovanardi looked to follow Andrew Jordan through past Tom Ingram, only for the Italian to receive a tap from the Speedworks driver through Westfield, performing a half spin before a further 360 degree rotation, with those cars following through taking avoiding action with only Jack Clarke making minor contact with the Ford Focus.
The race was yet to reach it’s halfway course at this stage, but the excitement continued as Morgan muscled his way into the podium positions with a forceful pass on Tordoff into Druids. A third place would have marked Morgan’s first podium of the season and a first for him in his Mercedes A-Class, be he had no intentions to settle for the final spot on the podium as he set his sights on Plato – who looked increasingly frustrated behind Collard – climbing onto two wheels through Paddock Hill.
As Collard appeared to find it harder and harder to keep the three cars behind him, Plato made a slight error as they crossed the line to start lap 14, which allowed Morgan, who had backed off into the entry of Paddock Hill, to carry his momentum up the inside of the MG into Druids and into second place.
And that second became first less than a lap later, when a slow and wide exit from Clearways for Collard allowed the WIX Racing driver to sail into the lead across the line, while Plato followed him through to claim second.
Morgan’s stint in the lead was shortlived, however, as he ran wide in similar fashion to Jackson earlier, and although he was able to hold onto his car, relinquished the lead to allow Plato into first. With a comfortable distance between himself and Morgan – who rejoined ahead of Collard and Tordoff who continued to argue over third – Plato was finally able to relax, and cruised to the finish to claim a seventh win of the season.
Second place nevertheless marked Morgan’s best result in the series to date, while a move at the start of the final lap gave Tordoff third place. Jordan also squeaked past Collard on the line, clinching fourth with Ingram a lonely but season’s-best sixth. A great recovery drive from Gordon Shedden saw the Scot finish seventh, just 0.001s ahead of Aron Smith, while Jack Goff and Nick Foster completed the top ten, with the latter on pole for the day’s reverse-grid race. There was also a second points finish for Aiden Moffat in 13th, who improved one place from his 14th place in race one.
UPDATE – Jason Plato was later given a post-race 20-second penalty for the incident with Turkington, dropping him to 13th position and handing Morgan his first-ever win in the BTCC.
Round 30, the final race of the 2014 season, gets underway at 17:09 BST.
Top ten result
|1||99||M||Jason PLATO||MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save||MG6||17||28:34.706||1:32.606||1|
|2||33||I||Adam MORGAN||WIX Racing||Mercedes-Benz A-Class||17||2.281||1:32.252||5|
|3||88||M||Sam TORDOFF||MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save||MG6||17||3.501||1:32.733||2|
|4||10||I||Rob COLLARD||eBay Motors||BMW 125i M Sport||17||5.359||1:32.993||6|
|5||1||I||Andrew JORDAN||Pirtek Racing||Honda Civic||17||5.373||1:32.223||9|
|6||80||I||Tom INGRAM||Speedworks Motorsport||Toyota Avensis||17||7.59||1:33.193||8|
|7||52||M||Gordon SHEDDEN||Honda Yuasa Racing||Honda Civic Tourer||17||9.127||1:32.707||25|
|8||40||I||Árón SMITH||CHROME Edition Restart Racing||Volkswagen CC||17||9.128||1:33.049||11|
|9||31||I||Jack GOFF||CHROME Edition Restart Racing||Volkswagen CC||17||14.693||1:33.032||27|
|10||18||I||Nick FOSTER||eBay Motors||BMW 125i M Sport||17||15.921||1:32.986||10|