Jason Plato doubles up at Oulton Park
Double BTCC champion Jason Plato proved to be the class of the field yet again as the Team BMR driver took his second win of the day at Oulton Park.
After claiming a commanding race one win the experienced peddler produced a similar performance in the second contest, albeit with the race-long attention from Honda Yuasa Racing’s Gordon Shedden. The Civic Type R touched the VW CC ahead on a number of occasions, most notably at the Island Hairpin, but Shedden failed to make a move stick. The Scotsman made one last attempt on the final corner of the final lap, but would eventually full short by just 0.093s.
Plato’s victory was the first time a driver has taken top honours with maximum success ballast on board this season and was also the 199th time the BTCC legend has made the podium. He has now extended his lead in the championship standings to 5 points from Shedden.
“It was a great race – Gordon [Shedden] was on me all the way,” said Plato. “There was a key moment about half way through when he ran just a little wide at the hairpin and lost a car length or two. From then on I could concentrate on building the gap rather than having to look in my mirrors. Over the last four laps I was starting to relax – I was just a bit over-cautious in the last corner which made it a bit heart in mouth across the line. Our overall game plan was to capitalise on the standard tyre in the first two races which is exactly what we’ve done so I’m happy.”
Shedden replied, “It was close, I just wish it had been close the other way around! It is a difficult track to pass on – I tried everything but Jason [Plato] knows exactly how to defend around here. The car was awesome though, it was getting a bit hot right up behind Jason so I dropped back a little. I tried to make it stick on the last lap but it wasn’t quite enough.”
It’s far from becoming a two-horse race, however, with Matt Neal and Andrew Jordan close behind in both the standings and on-track.
Jordan’s MG6 continues to rack up the points at an incredibly consistent rate with race two being no exception. The 2013 BTCC champion kept Plato and Shedden honest throughout to claim another podium for the manufacturer squad while Neal’s Honda followed in the order after seeing off the challenges from three BMWs.
West Surrey Racing looked to be staring at three successful results, with the reverse grid race to follow, but the team’s hopes unravelled on the final lap. Rob Collard had initially blasted from eighth on the grid into fourth before the multiple race winner hounded Neal’s Type R for much of the race.
His challenge faded late on, allowing team-mate Andy Priaulx to drag himself into contention. The Guernseyman made his ambitious attempt at the hairpin on the final lap but contact with the rear of Collard’s sister BMW 125i M Sport led to disaster. Broken rear suspension forced out Collard on the spot while Priaulx could only limp home in 15th.
Their pain became Sam Tordoff’s gain as he got the better of both Adam Morgan and Aron Smith to take fifth. It was a great battle from the three young chargers, which included two impressive moves from Tordoff. With little room to manoeuvre he first slipped by Morgan’s Mercedes on the run down to Cascades on lap eight, but the best was to come three tours later when he out-braked the VW CC of Smith at Lodge. Morgan also eyed his own opportunity as he immediately followed Tordoff through, relegating Smith to seventh in the process.
It was an expensive move for Smith as the post-race reverse grid draw provided Morgan with pole position for today’s final race. The Lancastrian won race three at Thruxton last time out and he’ll be nicely poised to repeat the trick in front of his home crowd.
Reigning champion Colin Turkington gradually made his way up the order to claim eighth although he was unable to make the sort of progress he would have wanted. Jack Goff’s MG was ninth ahead of the impressive Eurotech Honda of Jeff Smith.
Mike Bushell spun away victory in the Jack Sears Trophy, which eventually went to the Dextra Racing Ford Focus of Alex Martin.
Click here for the final classification from round 11 of the 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship. The final race of the day will take place at 17:20 and will be screened live on ITV4.