Plato just beats Ingram in classic BTCC bout
Jason Plato scored a sensational race three victory at Rockingham after eventually getting the better of a brilliant effort from Tom Ingram in what was a classic BTCC bout.
Pole-sitter Ingram made a stellar getaway in his Toyota Avensis and produced a faultless opening to the race as Plato was busy hauling his VW CC into second.
Colin Turkington moved into third after coming out on top of some minor contact with Rob Austin and Jack Goff, which sent the latter spiralling out of contention.
Team BMR RCIB Insurance driver Plato hounded Ingram throughout and crept up the inside of the Speedworks Motorsport car on lap four, but he couldn’t complete the move as they surged towards Yentwood.
Aron Smith’s VW CC was also flying through the field as he made early passes by Josh Cook, Adam Morgan and Mat Jackson.
The race was halted on lap seven when the AmD Ford Focus of Mike Bushell had a coming together with Hunter Abbott’s Audi. Bushell came off worse with his car left stranded in the gravel, which led to the deployment of the safety car for the first time of the day. It wouldn’t be Abbott’s only manic moment unfortunately as heavy contact late on with Aiden Moffat’s Mercedes at the first hairpin forced both cars into retirement.
Plato was immediately on Ingram’s tail following the restart as he attempted the same move on Ingram into Deene. His young challenger again held on but even better was to follow on lap 12. It was third time lucky for Plato as yet another similar attempt finally succeeded, but Ingram’s Toyota refused to go away. Despite the potential risk of losing his first ever BTCC podium, Ingram flung his car down the inside of Plato through Gracelands in what was a quite remarkable move. The packed main grandstand rose on its collective feet with cheers being heard across the circuit.
It was clear, however, that Plato’s stealth-like VW was showing more speed late on and when the double champion did it again on lap 14 there would be no comeback. Plato edged ahead and then immediately bulked Ingram up behind on the exit of Yentwood, which was enough for the championship challenger to break the tow and move clear.
Ingram fended off Turkington for second, despite another safety car period, while Neal’s Honda took fourth. Smith’s excellent drive up the order was eventually bettered by JCT600 with GardX driver Sam Tordoff. Having made a number of impressive moves from 14th on the grid, Tordoff’s final attack was on Smith as he slithered his BMW through to take fifth.
Exocet Racing’s Rob Austin finished seventh ahead of championship leader Gordon Shedden. Andrew Jordan and Power Maxed Racing’s Cook completed the top ten with the latter now moving into an unassailable points lead in the Jack Sears Trophy.
2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship – Round 24 – Rockingham:
- Jason PLATO (GBR) Team BMR RCIB Insurance
- Tom INGRAM (GBR) Speedworks Motorsport
- Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMR RCIB Insurance
- Matt NEAL (GBR) Honda Yuasa Racing
- Sam TORDOFF (GBR) JCT600 Racing with GardX
- Aron SMITH (IRL) Team BMR RCIB Insurance
- Rob AUSTIN (GBR) Exocet AlcoSense
- Gordon SHEDDEN (GBR) Honda Yuasa Racing
- Andrew JORDAN (GBR) MG 888 Racing
- Josh COOK (R) (GBR) Power Maxed Racing
- Martin DEPPER (GBR) Eurotech Racing
- Nick FOSTER (GBR) Team IHG Rewards Club
- Alex MARTIN (R) (GBR) Dextra Racing
- Mat JACKSON (GBR) Motorbase Performance
- James COLE (GBR) Motorbase Performance
- Stewart LINES (R) (GBR) Houseman Racing
- Nicolas HAMILTON (GBR) AmD Tuning.com
- Adam MORGAN (GBR) WIX Racing
- Jack GOFF (GBR) MG 888 Racing
DNF Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing
DNF Hunter ABBOTT (GBR) Exocet AlcoSense
DNF Derek P ALMER (R) (GBR) Support Our Paras Racing
DNF Kieran GALLAGHER (R) (GBR) RCIB Insurance Racing
DNF Warren SCOTT (GBR) Team BMR RCIB Insurance
DNF Daniel WELCH (GBR) Welch Motorsport
DNF Jeff SMITH (GBR) Eurotech Racing
DNF Mike BUSHELL (R) (GBR) AmD Tuning.com
DNF Robb HOLLAND (USA) Handy Motorsport
DNF Dave NEWSHAM (GBR) Power Maxed Racing
DNF Robert COLLARD (GBR) JCT600 Racing with GardX