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Jason Plato crowned 2010 BTCC champion

Sunday, October 10 2010

Silverline Chevrolet's Jason Plato clinched his first BTCC title in almost ten years today (Sunday) after securing an impressive lights-to-flag victory in the second outing of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch.

Plato's title glory is the climax of a faultless performance this weekend. The Chevrolet driver topped both free practice before scooping pole position yesterday, which he converted into race one victory this morning. This secured him pole position for race two ahead of his title rivals Honda Racing's Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden.

Although the title fight was originally a three horse race it became a two-way battle before the second round had even begun, as Shedden suffered a broken driveshaft on the formation lap.

This left Matt Neal as the only driver capable of stopping Plato's title charge, although the Honda driver lost position to Chevrolet's Alex MacDowall off the start line. Neal fought back to reclaim the position with an ambitious manouevre up the inside into Druids, which resulted in MacDowall running wide across the grass.

After seeing off MacDowall's challenge, Neal kept Plato honest for the remainder of the race, but Plato remained cool to secure a lights-to-flag victory and take a sufficient points haul to clinch his second BTCC drivers' title.

Behind the championship battle, WSR's Rob Collard steered his BMW 320si to a solid third place finish, after an early challenge on Matt Neal faded when he ran wide through the gravel at Paddock Hill Bend.

The Sunshine.co.uk Honda Integra of Paul O'Neill and the Team Aon Ford Focus of Tom Chilton resumed their race one battle, with O'Neill once again emerging victorious in fourth place.

Airwaves BMW's Steven Kane clinched sixth from eleventh on the grid from Pirtek Racing's Andrew Jordan, whose Vauxhall Vectra will start race three from pole position following the reverse grid draw.

Kane's team-mate Mat Jackson took eighth, with the Triple Eight Vauxhall Vectra of James Nash in ninth and WSR's Andy Neate completing the top ten.

There was a brief safety car period at the start of the race when James Kaye's Honda Integra made contact with Martin Depper's BMW at Clearways and became embedded in the gravel.

In addition to Kaye, Alex MacDowall and Team Aon's Tom Onslow-Cole also retired, as both suffered damage after separate off-track incidents.

Although the title has now been clinched, the stakes remain high for race three as Plato's race two victory takes his total number of BTCC career victories to 60 - equal with Andy Rouse's all-time record.

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Brands Hatch, race two:
1. Jason Plato (Silverline Chevrolet Cruze), 26 laps
2. Matt Neal (Honda Racing Civic), +0.887s
3. Rob Collard (WSR BMW), +4.873s
4. Paul O'Neill (Sunshine.co.uk Honda Integra), +5.671s
5. Tom Chilton (Team Aon Ford Focus), +8.314s
6. Steven Kane (Airwaves BMW), +9.485s
7. Andrew Jordan (Pirtek Racing Vauxhall Vectra), +16.022s
8. Mat Jackson (Airwaves BMW), +16.333s
9. James Nash (Triple Eight Vauxhall Vectra), +16.484s
10. Andy Neate (WSR BMW), +20.094s

The next major event at Brands Hatch is the Truck or Treat the British Truck Racing Championship season finale over Halloween weekend (30/31 October). Tickets are now on sale from £17 for adults, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0870 950 9000 or click on the link below.