Rockingham BTCC: Plato denies Ingram in race 3

Jason Plato pipped Speedworks Motorsport's Tom Ingram to victory in a thrilling final race at Rockingham, after a monumental battle between the pair in which the lead swapped hands several times.

Rockingham BTCC: Plato denies Ingram in race 3
Hunter Abbot, Exocet AlcoSense Audi A4
Jason Plato, Team BMR Volkswagen CC
Andrew Jordan, MG 888 Racing MG6
Jack Goff, MG 888 Racing MG6
Nick Foster, Team IHG Rewards Club BMW 125i MSport
Mat Jackson, Motorbase Performance Ford Focus
Rob Austin, Exocet AlcoSense Audi A4
Matt Neal, Honda Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type R

In a race twice interrupted by two safety car periods, Plato finally made his move stick at Deene on lap 14, but it was only part of the story.

Ingram was nonetheless delighted as he secured both his and Speedworks' first podium in the BTCC.

Behind the duelling pair, Plato's team-mate Colin Turkington kept himself firmly in the title hunt ahead of Honda's Matt Neal, who turned in an excellent performance on the soft tyre in fourth.

West Surrey Racing's Sam Tordoff charged through to fifth ahead of Aron Smith, with Rob Austin, championship leader Gordon Shedden, Andrew Jordan and Josh Cook completing the top 10.

The action was frantic from the very start. Ingram held his lead while Triple Eight Racing's Jack Goff was passed by both Plato and Turkington before being tipped into a spin at Deene, and dropping to last.

Power Maxed Racing's Dave Newsham slowed along the pit straight going into lap two, which also saw Support Our Paras Racing's Derek Palmer Jr turned around by Welch Motorsport's Dan Welch at Tarzan.

The battling at the front started in earnest on lap four. Plato passed Ingram at Deene before Ingram forced his Toyota Avensis back inside the Volkswagen CC to hold the lead and establish a small gap.

The first of two safety cars was deployed on lap seven when AmD Tuning's Mike Bushell was put into the gravel by Rob Austin Racing's Hunter Abbott at Deene. A huge defence from Ingram when racing resumed on lap 10 maintained his lead, before Aiden Moffat and Adam Morgan made contact at the final chicane on lap 11.

Plato must have thought he'd finally made it stick at Deene on lap 12, but the relentless Ingram fought his way back inside through Pif Paf and retook the lead at the end of Steel Straight to huge cheers from the crowd.

Plato finally made the decisive move at Deene on lap 14 before Welch's Proton expired and a second safety car was scrambled to clear up fluid from the circuit. And the action still wasn't over, as Abbott had a massive lock up heading into Deene on the final tour and careered into the rear of Moffat, putting both out of the race.

In a race high on incident and attrition, just 18 cars took the chequered flag, with Team Parker Racing's Alex Martin scoring points for the first time in 13th.

Plato kept it clean to take the win after 19 frenetic laps and cut Shedden's championship lead to just six points with six races remaining.

Ian Gallagher/TouringCarTimes

Pos  Driver   Car   Time/Gap
Jason Plato Volkswagen 29'22.424 
Tom Ingram Toyota 1.234
Colin Turkington Volkswagen 1.871
Matt Neal Honda 4.838
Sam Tordoff BMW 5.264
Árón Smith Volkswagen 5.830
Rob Austin Audi 6.212
Gordon Shedden Honda 8.450
Andrew Jordan MG 9.810
10  Josh Cook Chevrolet 10.309
11  Martin Depper Honda 13.013
12  Nick Foster BMW 14.094
13  Alex Martin Ford 14.647
14  Mat Jackson Ford 14.984
15  James Cole Ford 18.021
16  Stewart Lines Toyota 18.487
17  Nicolas Hamilton Audi 19.702
18  Adam Morgan Mercedes 25.505
19  Jack Goff MG  
Aiden Moffat Mercedes  
Hunter Abbott Audi  
Derek Palmer Jr. Infiniti  
Kieran Gallagher Toyota  
Warren Scott Volkswagen  
Daniel Welch Proton  
Jeff Smith Honda  
Mike Bushell Ford  
Robb Holland Toyota  
Dave Newsham Chevrolet  
Rob Collard BMW
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