Knockhill BTCC: Plato wins Race 1 after last turn Subaru swap

Jason Plato claimed his first BTCC victory of 2017 at Knockhill after he and teammate Ash Sutton attempted to tactically trade the lead on the final lap.

Team BMR Subaru driver Plato snatched his 50th career pole with his final qualifying lap on Saturday, and converted that into a first corner lead at the start of the race.

Plato and Sutton were quickest over the first couple of laps, but were soon caught by the WSR BMWs of Colin Turkington and Rob Collard.

Despite Turkington recording the fastest lap, that BMW resurgence proved short-lived as Plato and Sutton edged clear in the latter stages of the race.

Plato tried to allow Sutton to take the lead before the start of the final lap – to hand his teammate a point for leading the race – but was still 0.053 seconds clear across the line.

Sutton did lead most of the final lap, but moved back over out of the final corner to allow Plato back through – the two-time champion claiming his first win since the opening Knockhill race a year earlier.

“We found something in qualify that we’d thought about all year but didn’t have the data to back it up,” said Plato. “It’s a completely different car.

“It’s a shame we didn’t get that switch around for the point – the timing wasn’t quite there.”

Turkington completed the podium, less than a second down on Plato, with Collard in tow as the top four finished well clear of the chasing pack.

The WSR BMW pair now occupy first and second in the drivers’ championship.

Best of the rest went to James Cole in BMR’s third Subaru, after he overcame Tom Ingram after an entertain mid-race scrap.

Speedworks Motorsport driver Ingram couldn’t keep pace with the leaders and turned his attentions to keeping Cole at bay for fifth early on, which included a robust defence along the pit straight.

Cole ultimately forced a way through at the halfway point and gradually pulled away to secure fifth – matching his best finish in the championship.

The Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall of Senna Proctor claimed his best finish to date with seventh, some five seconds behind Ingram, while Adam Morgan (Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes) and a charging Matt Neal were eighth and ninth.

Neal’s advance from 21st on the grid was particularly impressive, and was helped by Honda teammate and erstwhile points leader Gordon Shedden moving over to let him by.

Shedden had dropped some five seconds to Morgan by the time he let Neal through, which left his teammate little time to make any further progress.

But as Morgan and Dave Newsham squabbled for eighth, Neal caught the two with two laps remaining and managed to nestle between the pair before the finish.

Shedden, who started the race with maximum ballast, crossed the line in 11th and is now fourth in the points.

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About this article
Series BTCC
Event Knockhill
Track Knockhill Racing Circuit
Drivers Jason Plato , Ashley Sutton
Teams Team BMR
Article type Race report