Plato dominates shortened Oulton Park opener

Jason Plato took a straightforward lights-to-flag victory in a first BTCC race of the day at Oulton Park curtailed by a late red flag.

Plato dominates shortened Oulton Park opener
Jason Plato, Team BMR
Polesitter Jason Plato, Team BMR
Jason Plato, Team BMR
Jason Plato, Team BMR
Gordon Shedden, Honda Yuasa Racing
Jack Goff, MG 888 Racing
Colin Turkington, Team BMR

The polesitter led every lap of the shortened race, which was brought to a halt when with two laps remaining when contact between Alex Martin and Stewart Lines caused the latter to crash into the barrier at the pitlane entrance.

Plato led the field away from the start, as Andy Priaulx's WSR-run BMW challenged Matt Neal for second as the pack came through Old Hall, the Honda driver maintaining the place by sticking to the outside and moving back ahead at Cascades.

Neal nonetheless could offer no challenge to a rampant Plato, who led by 1.3 seconds at the end of the opening lap, a gap which had grown to an insurmountable 3.2s by half-distance - the Team BMR driver duly recording a third victory of the season when the red flags were shown.

"I'm just at one car with the car now," said Plato afterwards. "It has taken a while to feel my way into it but now I'm in the zone with it."

Behind, Neal initially pulled away from Priaulx, who came under pressure from Andrew Jordan's works MG from behind, but was reeled in during the latter stages by the triple World Touring Car champion benefitting from zero success ballast.

Priaulx simply couldn't find a way by the Civic Type-R however, and was forced to settle for third, with soft tyre-shod Jordan taking fourth, unable to join the fight for second.

Also on soft rubber was points leader Gordon Shedden, also carrying a maximum 75kgs of success ballast, who was fifth for much of the race before Aron Smith slipped by at Old Hall to take the place at two-thirds distance.

The Scot held up a queue of cars to claim sixth ahead of Jack Goff (MG), Tom Ingram (Toyota), Sam Tordoff (BMW) and Dave Newsham (Chevrolet).

Colin Turkington's BMR VW was also part of this group before he overshot the Island hairpin, losing time and positions by the bucketload as he took to the now-unused International section of the circuit to rejoin.

Plato will start the second race from pole after setting the fastest lap of the race, ahead of Shedden, Jordan, Priaulx and Neal.

Race results:

 Pos Driver Car Time/Gap
Jason Plato Volkswagen 21'14.936
Matt Neal Honda 1.322
Andy Priaulx BMW 2.789
Andrew Jordan MG 3.696
Aron Smith Volkswagen 5.187
Gordon Shedden Honda 6.439
Jack Goff MG 7.582
Tom Ingram Toyota 8.807
Sam Tordoff BMW 10.432
10  Dave Newsham Chevrolet 12.527
11  Adam Morgan Mercedes 13.924
12  Josh Cook Chevrolet 15.197
13  Rob Collard BMW 16.841
14  Martin Depper Honda 17.870
15  Rob Austin Audi 20.001
16  Warren Scott Volkswagen 21.296
17  Aiden Moffat Mercedes 22.607
18  Hunter Abbott Audi 23.896
19  Jeff Smith Honda 24.695
20  Daniel Welch Proton 26.058
21  Alex Martin Ford 27.127
22  Derek Palmer Infiniti 28.493
23  Simon Belcher Toyota 30.610
24  Mike Bushell Ford 31.965
25  Colin Turkington Volkswagen 33.753
 Ret Andy Wilmot Proton -
Ret Stewart Lines Toyota -
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