Plato wins season finale
Team BMW’s Colin Turkington was crowned a record-equalling four-time BTCC champion in the most dramatic of circumstances after an unforgettable finale at Brands Hatch.
Round 30 of the 2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship will live long in the memory as Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing’s Jason Plato won the race – his first of the season – whilst the fight for the title incredibly went down to the wire.
“It’s great to win and it’s been a long time coming this year,” said Plato. “I’ve made mistakes and had parking issues. We made a couple of changes for this one that worked. I’ve had such a brilliant year and I’ve got my mojo back. I’m back in the bus getting told off so that means I’m getting competitive. We need to develop and the work starts now for 2020. Everyone said I was too old but I knew different. We can see now, in a competitive car, I can still win.”
Plato was able to get by early leader Stephen Jelley, before pulling away to take a comfortable victory from Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance’s Rory Butcher and Adrian Flux Subaru Racing’s Ash Sutton, but it was all eyes on the battles behind.
Turkington – starting the race in 25th and eight points behind then standings leader Dan Cammish – ripped through the order from the outset, making up ten places on the opening lap alone. The #1 BMW was soon inside the top ten, just behind the similarly charging Toyota of Tom Ingram, and the duo had swarmed up behind Cammish’s Honda Civic Type R.
Having nipped past Ingram’s Toyota Corolla, Turkington then squeezed by Halfords Yuasa Racing’s Cammish at Druids with four laps to go.
Whilst Turkington was now reducing the points deficit, Cammish was still in command of the overall standings knowing that eighth position was good enough for a maiden BTCC title.
With seemingly no end to the drama, Cammish would face heartache with just a lap and a half of the season remaining, having previously completed every single race lap of the season so far.
As Cammish sped towards Hawthorn Bend – his brake discs already glowing – the #27 Honda suffered with brake failure and continued straight on and into the barrier at one of the fastest corners on the circuit.
In the blink of an eye, Cammish’s championship dreams were over and Turkington’s despair had turned to ecstasy, the Northern Irishman eventually passing the chequered flag to equal Andy Rouse’s record of winning four British Touring Car Championships.
“That was so hard,” said Turkington. “We’ve had such a tough day. That was the race of my life. I got my head down and got stuck in. I couldn’t believe after one lap I was on the pack. I could see Andrew (Jordan) and Dan (Cammish) so I just kept fighting and fighting. I was determined to get past Dan and I knew I could put the pressure on him. I don’t know what happened to him. Thank you to everyone at home and my fans.
“It’s all about that moment when I jumped on my roof there. You can’t get that emotion anywhere else. I just wanted to be number one this year. Records are great but all our hard work was dedicated to that. We just never gave up. I thought we were done when the slick tyres didn’t switch on in race two. I thought even after the spin I could catch them and make up ground but they didn’t. To come from P25 to wherever I finished in this one is much better than a win. Thank you to all the people at home and all my fans in Northern Ireland – it means so much.”
2019 Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship – Round 30 – Brands Hatch GP
1 Jason PLATO (GBR) Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing 15 laps
2 Rory BUTCHER (GBR) Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance +0.958s
3 Ashley SUTTON (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +1.767s
4 Andrew JORDAN (GBR) BMW Pirtek Racing +4.248s
5 Josh COOK (GBR) BTC Racing +5.333s
6 Colin TURKINGTON (GBR) Team BMW +13.598s
7 Tom INGRAM (GBR) Team Toyota GB with Ginsters +14.103s
8 Ollie JACKSON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +16.810s
9 Adam MORGAN (GBR) Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport +17.346s
10 Tom OLIPHANT (GBR) Team BMW +17.653s
11 Stephen JELLEY (GBR) Team Parker Racing +18.758s
12 Jake HILL (GBR) TradePriceCars.com +19.409s
13 Matt NEAL (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +19.786s
14 Aiden MOFFAT (GBR) Laser Tools Racing +19.931s
15 Bobby THOMPSON (GBR) GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct +23.307s
16 Mike BUSHELL (GBR) Cobra Sport AmD AutoAid/RCIB Insurance +23.724s
17 Michael CAINE (GBR) Motorbase Performance +24.171s
18 Rob COLLARD (GBR) Sterling Insurance with Power Maxed Racing +24.800s
19 Carl BOARDLEY (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport +31.345s
20 Mark BLUNDELL (GBR) TradePriceCars.com +32.646s
21 Senna PROCTOR (GBR) Adrian Flux Subaru Racing +32.916s
22 Rob SMITH (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +34.070
23 Dan CAMMISH (GBR) Halfords Yuasa Racing +2 laps
24 Sam OSBORNE (GBR) Excelr8 Motorsport +2 laps
25 Daniel ROWBOTTOM (GBR) Cataclean Racing with Ciceley Motorsport +3 laps
26 Matt SIMPSON (GBR) Simpson Racing +10 laps
27 Michael CREES (GBR) GKR Scaffolding with Autobrite Direct +12 laps
28 Tom CHILTON (GBR) Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher +14 laps
29 Chris SMILEY (GBR) BTC Racing +15 laps
DNS Jack GOFF (GBR) RCIB Insurance with Fox Transport