British Touring Car Championship: Jason Plato off to a flyer at Brands Hatch
Jason Plato claimed two wins from three races at Brands Hatch as the new British Touring Car season got underway.
Last Updated: 31/03/13 8:06pm
The MG KX Momentum driver got the better of pole-sitter Andrew Jordan after a thrilling race-long duel that almost ended in tears on the final lap when Jordan made an ill-advised move on the leader.
Jordan's late lunge saw both men forced off the circuit but they managed to recover and re-join in the same order as Plato held on for a hard-fought triumph in the season-opener.
The pair's late contact almost allowed the Audi of Rob Austin through for an unlikely win, but he had to settle for a nevertheless impressive third.
The high drama that enlivened the first race was not so much in evidence in the second as Plato eased to a lights-to-flag win.
The Pirtek Honda of Jordan again had to settle for second place behind the two-time BTCC champion, while Jeff Smith (Honda Civic) was elevated to third place after reigning champion Gordon Shedden was excluded when his Civic failed ride-height regulations on post-race scrutineering.
Matt Neal secured victory in the final race of the day, the Honda driver taking the lead after a mistake from pole-sitter Mat Jackson and then just doing enough to see off team-mate Shedden as his tyres went away late in the race.
Sam Tordoff enjoyed a maiden podium for the KX Momentum team, while team-mate Plato capped a fine day's work as he claimed fifth place.