Jason Plato took two wins in the BTCC Silverstone races on Sunday, but only reduced his deficit to championship leader Colin Turkington by five points.
It’s almost a tradition that Plato takes pole position and two wins on the Silverstone National Circuit, having now achieved the feat for three years running in his KX Clubcard Fuel Save MG6.
Despite being expected to struggle at the high-speed Silverstone, Turkington put his eBay Motors BMW second on the grid, just 0.064 seconds behind Plato.
Plato’s teammate Sam Tordoff was third, 0.007secs further back. Mat Jackson lined his Airwaves Racing Ford Focus up fourth, 0.091secs off pole. The top 23 cars were separated by less than one second.
As expected, Turkington got the jump at the start of Race 1 and led into the first corner. But Plato stayed close behind, making an opportunistic move up the inside at Brooklands on lap three.
Further back, Jackson took third from Tordoff, who then found the Chrome Edition Restart Racing Volkswagens of Alain Menu and Aron Smith snapping at his heels. For much of the early running, the top six were little more than a second apart.
As the race drew to a close, the battle settled down, with no further position changes at the front. But the lower orders of the top ten jostled for position, Robert Collard eventually claiming seventh with a couple of eye-catching passes. Marc Hynes achieved his best finish of the season in eighth.
The two Honda Yuasa Racing cars of Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal could only manage 17th and 18th in qualifying. Shedden battled through to 14th, twice clashing with Tom Ingram in the process, while Neal was shuffled down to 21st.
Plato and Turkington produced a carbon copy of their earlier duel in Race 2, Plato making his move at Brooklands on lap two. Plato held a gap around the one second mark until the end.
Behind the leaders, Jackson held onto third during the early running, but his performance faded, allowing Menu on pounce and take his second podium finish of the year.
The race ended early when Rob Collard was pitched into a violent roll at the exit of Becketts when he clipped the recovering Jack Clarke, who was sent into a wild slide as he fought with Warren Clarke and Gordon Shedden.
Battered and bruised, Collard was airlifted to hospital as a precaution, but was later given the all-clear.
Fabrizio Giovanardi drew pole for the reverse-grid Race 3, with Tordoff second. But the MG’s engine blew as he attempted to pull away for the warm-up lap.
With empty space in front of him, Mat Jackson, starting from fourth, made a fantastic start and leapt into the lead. Giovanardi held second until Smith got past, which dropped the Italian into the clutches a gaggle of cars led by Turkington.
At the start of lap 19, Turkington spotted his opportunity and drew alongside Giovanardi. As the pair argued over the position, Menu pushed his way through on the inside of Copse, briefly take third.
But, ever the opportunist, Plato wanted to have his say on the matter and went for inside at Becketts. He nudged Turkington into Giovanardi, but somehow Turks held it together and defended the inside line down the Wellington Straight, coming out of Brooklands in third.
Plato and Menu settled into fourth and fifth, respectively, while Andrew Jordan crossed the line sixth. Adam Morgan and Shedden were seventh and eighth, their best finishes of the day.
Warren Scott and Jack Goff were ninth and tenth, meaning all four Restart Racing Volkswagen CC’s finished in the top ten.
Turkington takes a 50 point lead into the season finale at Brands Hatch. There are too many permutations to calculate, but, essentially, if Turkington is at least 45 points ahead after Race 1, he wins the championship.
Only an absolute disaster can really prevent Turkington from winning his second British Touring Car Championship title. Plato has effectively written off his chances, saying his priority is to win races and make sure MG wins the Manufacturer’s crown.
Yet again, the BTCC goes down to the wire. Its been an amazing season, but it isn’t over yet.
The final round of the British Touring Car Championship is at Brands Hatch on 12 October.
Visit the BTCC website here
Race 1 top ten finishers after 22 laps
- Jason Plato — MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save MG6 GT
- Colin Turkington — eBay Motors BMW 1-Series — +1.453s
- Mat Jackson — Airwaves Racing Ford Focus — +1.578s
- Sam Tordoff — MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save MG6 GT — +3.561s
- Alain Menu — Chrome Edition Restart Racing Volkswagen CC — +4.6202s
- Aron Smith — Chrome Edition Restart Racing Volkswagen CC — +4.909s
- Rob Collard — eBay Motors BMW 1-Series — +11.151s
- Marc Hynes — Quantel Bifold Racing MG6 GT — +11.729s
- Rob Austin — Exocet Racing Audi A4 — +12.040s
- Andrew Jordan — Pirtek Racing Honda Civic — +12.687s
Race 2 top ten finishers after 20 laps
- Jason Plato — MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save MG6 GT
- Colin Turkington — eBay Motors BMW 1-Series — +1.013s
- Alain Menu — Chrome Edition Restart Racing Volkswagen CC — +1.739s
- Mat Jackson — Airwaves Racing Ford Focus — +2.778s
- Aron Smith — Chrome Edition Restart Racing Volkswagen CC — +2.979s
- Sam Tordoff — MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save MG6 GT — +5.739s
- Fabrizio Giovanardi — Airwaves Racing Ford Focus — +5.942s
- Andrew Jordan — Pirtek Racing Honda Civic — +6.981s
- Warren Scott — Chrome Edition Restart Racing Volkswagen CC — +8.417s
- Jack Clarke — Crabbies Racing Ford Focus — +9.353s
Race 3 top ten finishers after 24 laps
- Mat Jackson — Airwaves Racing Ford Focus
- Aron Smith — Chrome Edition Restart Racing Volkswagen CC — +2.753s
- Colin Turkington — eBay Motors BMW 1-Series — +5.257s
- Jason Plato — MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save MG6 GT — +5.972s
- Alain Menu — Chrome Edition Restart Racing Volkswagen CC — +6.303s
- Andrew Jordan — Pirtek Racing Honda Civic — +6.926s
- Adam Morgan — WIX Racing Mercedes A-Class — +7.245s
- Gordon Shedden — Honda Yuasa Racing Civic Tourer — +8.121s
- Warren Scott — Chrome Edition Restart Racing Volkswagen CC — +8.384s
- Jack Goff — Chrome Edition Restart Racing Volkswagen CC — +8.839s