Sunday, October 21 2012
Frank Wrathall has become the second man to take his maiden Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship victory at Brands Hatch today (Sunday), in the final race of the 2012 season. He was chased home by the works Hondas, plus Andrew Jordan's Pirtek car, who staged a formation finish to celebrate their title success.
The rain continued to hang in the air as the cars headed to the grid, with the light gradually failing. Mat Jackson got away well, whilst Frank Wrathall suffered wheelspin, leaving him to fend off Jason Plato into Paddock Hill. Deep within the bright glow of headlights greeting those watching on the Grand Prix loop, the Toyota challenged the Focus and continued to stalk the leader into lap two.
Behind the leading pair, Plato was fighting off the Hondas but soon lost out to Matt Neal, as he tried to make the MG as wide as possible. The fight then became one for the final podium place as Jackson's car slowed out of Paddock Hill on lap four with a return of the throttle problem that cost them an earlier win at Silverstone.
Shedden and then Jordan passed Plato as the leading BMWs of Rob Collard and Tom Onslow-Cole tangled. Despite losing the Independents' battle, they were still in contention for the teams' category. Challengers Pirtek were also in trouble when Jeff Smith became beached in the gravel.
Plato's race continued to deteriorate as race two winner Aron Smith, Dave Newsham and Rob Austin all passed him before mid-distance. Meanwhile at the front Wrathall was rather keen to win his first Touring Car race and began to pull away from the 2011 champion, who was being caught by his team mate and title successor.
As Wrathall continued to lap clear of the field, Plato was now engaged in a fight with Lea Wood for eighth place, with Ollie Jackson and Onslow-Cole closing in. The double champion clearly didn't want to lose more places, let alone a top ten finish, and decided to enjoy his final laps of the year in typically combative mode.
As the title-contending Hondas circulated in celebratory fashion, Wrathall continued on to a popular victory, his first in the series after two years racing the Dynojet Toyota. As he crossed the line to great elation, the chasing Hondas lined up to take the flag in formation. Meanwhile Smith added to his earlier success in fifth, from Newsham, Austin and Plato, who held off Wood, whilst Onslow-Cole recovered to tenth place.
Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship Race 3
1, Frank Wrathall, Dynojet, Toyota Avensis, 15 Laps
2, Matt Neal, Honda Yuasa Racing Team, Honda Civic, +6.893s
3, Gordon Shedden, Honda Yuasa Racing Team, Honda Civic, +6.980s
4, Andrew Jordan, Pirtek Racing, Honda Civic, +7.065s
5, Aron Smith, Redstone Racing, Ford Focus ST, +10.454s
6, Dave Newsham, Team ES Racing.com, Vauxhall Vectra, +13.776s
7, Rob Austin, Rob Austin Racing, Audi A4, +14.190s
8, Jason Plato, MG KX Momentum Racing, MG6, +18.568s
9, Lea Wood, BINZ Racing, Vauxhall Vectra, +18.834s
10, Tom Onslow-Cole, eBay Motors, +20.277s
The next major event at Brands Hatch is the Truck Superprix, which will end with a spectacular Fireworks display. Tickets are available from £17, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0843 453 9000 or click here.