Plato and Jordan are victors at Brands Hatch

Plato and Jordan are victors at Brands Hatch

Race 1 saw Plato make a perfect start and he led comfortably into the first corner. Plato's main title challenger Neal did not make the best of starts and lost places to his team mate Shedden and the Airwaves BMW belonging to Mat Jackson who had...

Race 1 saw Plato make a perfect start and he led comfortably into the first corner. Plato's main title challenger Neal did not make the best of starts and lost places to his team mate Shedden and the Airwaves BMW belonging to Mat Jackson who had made a great start going from 6th to 3rd.

Jason Plato.
Photo by Pat Cranham.

Jackson's joy would be short lived, when pressuring Shedden he hit the kerb too hard at Surtees spinning the BMW right down the field on lap 8.

Just one lap later and the first of the championship contenders was out when Onslow-Cole pulled off from 6th position with a problem related to the gearbox in his Team Aon Ford Focus.

James Nash was having a great race and was the person to benefit from Jackson's spin moving up to 4th. However he was coming under great pressure from the second Chevrolet of Alex MacDowall, who put a Plato-esque move on the Triple 8 driver into Druids nudging the back of the Vectra and slipping down the inside of Nash.

Nash was clearly unhappy at this move flicking his lights at MacDowall and as a result lost concentration allowing Rob Collard through at the final corner, Clearways.

Nash was also to lose 6th later in the race to Paul O'Neill which allowed Tom Chilton through at the same time. Nash did however manage to hold on to 8th from Jordan.

There was also bad news for the second Triple 8 Sam Tordoff making his debut. He had qualified a superb 8th position but lost a large number of places off the start and was later handed a drive through penalty for presumably using too much of the circuit.

Tom Boardman managed to secure the last point after coming under a great deal of pressure during the race from Steven Kane and Andy Neate. But at the front it was Plato who took victory in comfortable fashion from the two Honda's, although there was a brief scare for Plato when his team appeared in the pit lane with tyres to suggest he had a tyre related problem but thankfully for him this did not materialise.

So with one driver eliminated from the title race it was still mathematically down to 3 drivers although Plato did have a comfortable lead. This title fight shortened to two drivers before the start of the race as Shedden had to pull into the pits at the end of the second warm up lap with a broken drive shaft.

Arthur Forster and James Kaye make contact.
Photo by Pat Cranham.

Once again Plato made a great start and Neal didn't, allowing Plato's team mate MacDowall through to second. This wasn't to last for MacDowall and although there was only a small gap Neal knew he had to get past the Chevrolet. Coming from a long way back he touched the back of the Chevrolet, half spinning MacDowall onto the grass and sending him to the back of the field.

The first lap didn't pass without incident as later down the pack James Kaye ran into the side of Arthur Forster's BMW with both drivers going into the gravel at clearways. Although Forster was able to drive out the WRC Developments Honda Integra was stuck in the gravel with broken suspension causing a brief safety car.

After which Plato was in a league of his own but there was less good news for the second Chevrolet who, in attempting to come up through the field, made contact with the Honda Integra of Lea Wood. Both cars were sent through the gravel at Paddock and as a result, ended MacDowall's race.

Instead of fighting Plato, Neal was coming under pressure from Collard but a mistake by the WSR driver at Paddock meant a trip through the gravel sending him back into the clutches of O'Neill, although he would hold off the driver after a couple of laps of close pressure.

The main driver on the move was Kane who got past Nash and then Jordan for 6th.

A great battle then ensued between the two Vauxhall's of Jordan and Nash and Jackson. Jordan's car was clearly a handful and coming out of Surtees he sent the Pirtek Vectra into a massive slide. Somehow the former rally cross driver managed to hold the slide. Nash saw his chance and tried to pass Jordan but was forced around the outside of him; this only allowed Jackson to get up the inside of Nash to take 8th.

The man in the white suit, Ben Collins, had a terrible Saturday only managing a handful of laps all day with gearbox troubles. Overnight his team changed the gearbox from the normal sequential gearbox to the 5-speed 'H' pattern and although he wasn't used to this he had looked on course to take the final points position.

Andy Neate nudges past Ben Collins.
Photo by Pat Cranham.

That was until Neate barged his way past the former Stig coming out of clearways. This allowed Tordoff through even though both himself and Collins would finish out of the points in 11th and 12th but the single point for Neate came as a welcome relief to the WSR driver after a couple of crashes during Saturday.

This did not matter to Plato though, who cruised to his second victory of the day not only to secure the 2010 BTCC drivers crown but also to equal Andy Rouse's all time record of most wins in the series.

With the main championship being decided before the last race of the day all eyes were on the Independents trophy during race 3.

Team Aon's Onslow-Cole had looked odds on to take the title but two non finishes in the opening races meant it would go down to him, his team mate Tom Chilton and the Airwaves BMW of Steven Kane.

Onslow-Cole's weekend though was to get even worse when he pulled off on the warm up lap with yet more mechanical issues and was out of contention before the race had even got under way.

The top 7 were reversed for race 3 after James Thompson put in another successful demo of the all-new Toyota Avensis during the lunch hour, which meant Jordan was on pole for the last race of the season.

Jordan led away but Neal made a terrible start although it quickly became clear that this wasn't his fault and in fact he did have an issue with his car as he limped straight round to the pits and retired.

The safety car would have to be deployed at the end of lap 1 when Wood went straight on at Surtees with fluid coming out of the Central Racing Honda Integra. As the safety car came in Jordan managed to catch Kane napping and instantly built up a few car advantage crossing the start/finish line.

New champion Plato was looking to move up the field to take the all time win record but in trying to pass O'Neill for 5th he allowed Jackson to slip down the inside of him, also letting through the Vectra of Nash. Whether Plato was driving within himself having won the title or his car had gone off, he had no answer back in the mid-field and lost a further place to Shedden making his way through from the back of the grid.

Tom Chilton covers Andrew Jordan in champagne.
Photo by Pat Cranham.

It wasn't long until Jackson got past O'Neill but, as one Airwaves BMW was on the move another was finding the gravel at Paddock.

Collins who was still getting used to his new gearbox made a mistake shifting down from 5th to 2nd gear which locked the rear wheels and sent the BMW into a high speed spin into the gravel causing another safety car period.

When the safety car came in yet again Kane was caught napping and Jordan extended his lead.

Everyone's attention was clearly on the Independent title with Kane in second and Chilton in third. As is stood the title would go to Chilton but by now Kane was putting Jordan under pressure for the lead and Chilton was running side by side with Collard. Should a car finish in between the two then the title would go to Kane.

Jordan managed to hold onto the lead to take his second victory of the year and Chilton managed to hold onto third, although by now he had the second Airwaves BMW of Jackson challenging him after he got past Collard on lap 24 which also allowed O'Neill through to 4th.

Rounding out the top 10 was Clio racer Tordoff in the Triple 8 Vectra, ending his first BTCC weekend on a positive after an impressive debut holding off MacDowall for the last number of laps.

But the happiest men from the race were of course race winner Jordan and Chilton who had benefited from his teammate's misfortune to take the 2010 Independent drivers trophy. There was more cheer at Team Aon as they clinched the Independents' team trophy but there was no catching Honda Racing who claimed the manufactures/constructors trophy as well as the prestigious HiQ Teams Championship.

So that's how the BTCC drew to a close for 2010. has taken you through the season and be on the look out in the next couple of weeks for a full season review to see where the title was won and lost in what has been yet another close and unpredictable season in Britain's biggest four wheeled championship.

See also: Plato crowned 2010 Champion at Brands Hatch

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About this article
Series BTCC
Drivers Tom Chilton , Paul O'Neill , James Thompson , Ben Collins , Arthur Forster , Jason Plato , Rob Collard , Steven Kane , Tom Boardman , James Kaye , Andy Rouse , Andrew Jordan , James Nash , Mat Jackson , Andy Neate , Lea Wood , Alex MacDowall , Sam Tordoff