but Plato still leads
Mat Jackson and Gordon Shedden, the latter with a victory double, shared the wins in Sunday’s three rain-soaked Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races at the high-speed Thruxton circuit in Hampshire.
Jason Plato continues to lead the points table but only just from new second-placed man Shedden as Britain’s premier motor racing championship now heads to the spectacular Oulton Park circuit in Cheshire for its next three races on the weekend of 9/10 June.
Andrew Jordan had headed Saturday’s qualifying session to line up on pole position for the first of today’s races. But it all went wrong for the Pirtek Racing driver at the first bend as his Honda Civic tangled with Plato’s MG KX Momentum Racing MG6 and crashed.
This left the way clear for Jackson to reel off his second win of the season in his Redstone Racing Ford Focus ahead of Inverness’s Dave Newsham in his Team ES Racing.com Vauxhall Vectra and Plato. Newsham’s second place was the best of his career so far. Having started from lowly 18th and 19th spots after a disastrous qualifying session, Shedden and team-mate Matt Neal, the reigning Champion, were sixth and tenth.
Shedden was unstoppable in race two as he quickly made up positions to pass Jackson for the lead and a comfortable win. Plato took second ahead of Jackson in third. Neal was fifth. In race three Shedden and Neal then simply romped clear of the opposition to give Honda a dream 1-2 result. Third, adding to earlier fifth and fourth place results, was the impressive Frank Wrathall in his Dynojet Toyota Avensis. Plato was fourth.
As a result, Plato leaves Thruxton holding a four-point lead from the charging Shedden. Next up are Neal, Jackson and Hampshire’s Robert Collard who, on his home track, took a fourth and two seventh places today in his eBay Motors BMW.
Plato enthused: “We’ve had zero running in the wet before with the MG so to take away a big points haul on a rainy day is very pleasing. We’ve got a big test programme planned between now and Oulton which should really enable us to make big gains with the car.”
Shedden, who also set the fastest lap in all three races at Thruxton, added: “Two wins at Donington a fortnight ago and another two wins today… it’s been a mega weekend, even if qualifying didn’t go our way. The Civic’s chassis really came into its own today in the wet and round the fast corners but it’s still early days.”
And commented Neal: “It’s been a bit of a scruffy day for me so to get on the podium in the third race was a good way to finish – and of course it’s another great result for Honda. The main thing is I’ve come away still in the hunt but it’s extremely competitive out there.”
Jackson said: “The conditions today haven’t been ideal for the Focus which runs a slightly smaller tyre compared to the Honda and MG so I’m delighted by what we’ve achieved today. It’s all about consistent scoring and not letting the others escape at this stage.”
Meanwhile, Honda/Dynamics and the Honda Yuasa Racing Team have extended their respective leads in the Manufacturers/Constructors and HiQ Teams championships respectively. Jackson and Redstone Racing have taken over at the top of the Independent Drivers and Teams standings.
Elsewhere, two drivers were today penalised for on-track incidents. Redstone Racing’s Liam Griffin was handed a time penalty in race three which relegated him from 11th to 12th place while team-mate Aron Smith was officially reprimanded and had two penalty points added to his competition licence for an incident in the previous round at Donington Park.
2012 Dunlop BTCC Drivers’ Points after Thruxton (round 3 of 10):
1. Jason Plato, 129 points2. Gordon Shedden, 1253. Matt Neal, 1154. Mat Jackson, 1075. Robert Collard, 1036. Andrew Jordan, 94
Manufacturers/Constructors’ Points:1. Honda/Dynamics, 2702. MG/888, 235
HiQ Teams’ Points:1. Honda Yuasa Racing Team, 2302. Redstone Racing, 1673. Pirtek Racing, 1614. eBay Motors, 1605. MG KX Momentum Racing, 1406. Team ES Racing.com, 84
Independent Drivers’ Points:1. Mat Jackson, 1252. Andrew Jordan, 1243. Robert Collard, 1214. Jeff Smith, 935. Dave Newsham, 896. Tom Onslow-Cole, 84
Independent Teams’ Points:1. Redstone Racing, 1472. Pirtek Racing, 1373. eBay Motors, 1324. Team ES Racing.com, 1135. Dynojet, 916. Team HARD., 86
*All points remain provisional