Silverline Chevrolet has secured the second win of the season courtesy of Jason Plato, in what proved to be an eventful weekend for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park.
A miscalculated move from Jackson in the first of today’s races prevented Jason from challenging for the podium and taking what might have been a heavy points advantage over championship rival, Matt Neal (who eventually finished 8th), when a forceful shove pushed Jason’s Cruze wide off track, skimming the gravel. He rejoined down in P10. It was a disappointing end from what had been a race full of potential having started from 3rd on the grid.
Alex’s race ran less dramatically, although wasn’t without the excitement of some great racing and tagging from other cars. Starting 4th on the grid, alongside his team mate, Alex made a good start to maintain position into the first corner and despite the incessant pressure from Chilton’s Ford looking to make a pass, Alex drove with confidence to defend. A lap 8 pass from Jackson, in which Chilton followed through knocked Alex down to 7th.
Race two provided a positive change in fortune, with Jason lining up 10th on the grid and Alex in 7th. Running without success ballast, Jason made a great start and was already up to an impressive 3rd place, having passed Chilton.
A fastest lap from Jason highlighted the potential pace as the Cruze benefited from a lighter load without the success ballast that has been present on his car throughout the season. By the sixth lap Jason had leapfrogged Jackson into the hairpin and was quickly gaining on Onslow-Cole. A daring move from Jason propelled him onto the top step of the podium, taking the chequered flag on a damp track.
Alex’s race was far from over despite head on contact with Collard who was pushed into a spin on track at the hairpin, left facing the wrong way on lap one. With cars jostling to avoid the stricken BMW, there was little room for Alex to move and the Cruze sustained some bodywork damage to the front, however he rejoined the pack midfield and worked his way through to an incredibly close finish with Pinkney, finishing 0.043s ahead to finish 9th place, securing his ticket for the race three grid lottery.
The draw for race three plotted Alex on pole for the final race on the Cheshire track, his first of the season. Making a great getaway off the line, Alex led the race with great pace, and following a brief safety car stint, made the best restart to build a gap over Boardman of 0.611s. The dream start soon turned to bitter disappointment for Alex and team when a driveshaft problem robbed him of a potential maiden BTCC victory.
Jason worked his way from 9th on the grid upto 6th place, taking five more vital points to keep his championship fight on track.
Jason now lies 2nd in the championship with 90 points, eight shy of leader, Matt Neal. In the Manufacturer’s, Chevrolet sits 3rd on 181 points.
The next round of the BTCC will be held at Croft on Sunday June 20th.