WINS FOR PLATO, GIOVANARDI & JACKSON AT KNOCKHILL Jason Plato, Fabrizio Giovanardi and Mat Jackson shared the wins in todays three highly-charged HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship races at the spectacular Knockhill circuit in Scotland....
WINS FOR PLATO, GIOVANARDI & JACKSON AT KNOCKHILL
Jason Plato, Fabrizio Giovanardi and Mat Jackson shared the wins in todays three highly-charged HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship races at the spectacular Knockhill circuit in Scotland. But it is still Northern Irelands Colin Turkington who leads the Drivers standings, albeit by the reduced margin of just nine points from reigning champion Giovanardi as the championship battle now heads to the world-famous Silverstone circuit in Northamptonshire for its next three races on Sunday 30 August.
Plato dominated the days first race in his Racing Silverline Chevrolet Lacetti. And the day just got better for the team as Jackson then went and won race three followed home by Plato in second after what will stand as one of the BTCCs all-time classic drives from the back of the grid. A retirement for Plato in race two, though, has severely dented his title hopes. But Jackson, whod previously suffered a miserable run of results at Knockhill, was this time ecstatic having preceded his victory today with third and second places finishes in the two earlier races hes suddenly up to seventh in the standings and now has fifth in his sights.
Vauxhall superstar Giovanardis win came in race two following some world-class overtaking moves. Fifth in the days first race, he then followed up his race two win with third in race three. Compared to Team RAC BMW driver Turkingtons results of fourth, third and fifth, it means the Italian has cut what was a 17-point gap to the Portadown man down to just nine points as the title race surely now between these two moves south to Silverstone for a bank holiday weekend showdown.
Turkington, aged 27, said: It can be a rough ride at Knockhill and I very nearly got the measure of Fabrizio in race three. But even though he just kept ahead of me in that one Im still very happy with my results here. Sure, hes closed the gap, but Ive limited the damage and next come what, on paper, are slightly more predictable circuits with Silverstone, Rockingham and Brands Hatch. Fabrizio and I have moved that wee bit further ahead of the rest again, but Im still not ruling out Jason and Matt (Neal) coming back into it.
Giovanardi, the man from Modena aiming this year for a third consecutive BTCC Drivers crown, added: I think now it is between us two. Jason I saw parked at the side of the road in race two and Matt crashed out of race one whereas Colin and I managed to get strong results in all three races. Colin, you know he is putting up a very good fight, very mature for his age, and he is going to be very hard to beat. I think we are quite even in performance on the track and today he raced very hard but fair with me. The last three rounds are going to be very exciting but its what Im sure we both want and its the same for the crowds and TV!
Meanwhile, it proved to be a day of mixed fortunes for the two home Scottish drivers. Gordon Shedden (Dalgety Bay) finished the days first race in second. He also briefly led race two in his Cartridge World SEAT Leon but fell to ninth and then crashed out of race three. Jonathan Adam (Kinghorn) finished the first two races in fifth and seventh but then retired from race three when his Airwaves BMWs fire extinguisher went off in his face.
Elsewhere, Vauxhall/VX Racing is seemingly romping to the Manufacturer/Constructor crown as is VXR to what would be its seventh outright Teams title. Turkington and his Team RAC squad also hold commanding leads in the Independent Drivers and Teams points tables.