Plato, Neal, and Jackson take wins at Knockhill

The British Touring Car Championship once again proved anything is possible in three thrilling races at Knockhill. Jason Plato, Matt Neal, and Mat Jackson all took wins at the Scottish track, but Sam Tordoff retained his lead at the top of the championship.

Race One

Plato took pole for the 500th BTCC race of his career and marked the milestone with a commanding win. It was Plato’s first win in a Subaru, after teammate Colin Turkington took wins earlier in the season.

There was no trouble for the pole sitter in the first half of the race, the battle for second behind him handing Plato a healthy gap.

Tom Ingram started from the front row of the grid, but soon came under pressure from Sam Tordoff. Tordoff managed to get past, but second wasn’t going to be his for long. Ingram retook the place and left Tordoff to fight against teammate Jack Goff. Goff came off on top and snatched second from Ingram.

Behind them Andy Jordan and Colin Turkington were side by side as the Subaru driver tried to get past Jordan. Jordan held strong but Turkington stuck to the back of the Pirtek sponsored car, looking fr anyway past. When the Subaru finally managed to get past, he set off to catch up with Tordoff.

Catching up was made easier by a safety car, which came out for a collision between Dan Welch and Warren Scott. After a devastating crash at Snetterton, Welch had spent the past two weeks in a race against time to put together a car for the Scottish race. This time, Welch managed to come off the better of the two, as Scott span off the track and brought the safety car out.

It was just what Plato didn’t want. After building up a gap all the way through the race, the safety car would bring the rest of the field back into play. BTCC’s rule of adding any safety car laps onto the end of the race – so the number of racing laps doesn’t change – meant there was no way he wouldn’t have to restart the race and defend his lead.

Luckily, those behind him were too busy with one another on the restart to bother fighting for the lead of the race

Turkington managed to get past Tordoff on the restart and took P3 from Ingram in the closing stages of the race, making it another Subaru double podium. Jack Goff completed the podium with a second place for West Surrey Racing.

“Before this weekend, I wasn’t getting caught up in any of the numbers,” said Plato after the race. “You cast your mind back to where it all started – struggling in single seaters with no money, and doorstepping Sir Frank Williams. 500 races later and we’re still winning. Whilst we all wanted to get that first win at Subaru, did it matter too much to me? It was just great to see the cars winning come what may out of the car. In the car, I was obviously disappointed! The ball was just yet to roll my way.”

Race two made for an even crazier.

Race Two

Plato would once again start on pole, but this time he wouldn’t be able to shake off the rest of the pack quite so easily. After starting second, Jack Goff was right on the back of Plato, but it wouldn’t be the WSR driver who would take Plato’s lead. Colin Turkington took the outside line past both of the front row drivers, coming side by side, but couldn’t get his nose in and would have to stay behind.

Ingram again was struggling to keep positions. Andy Jordan made his way past him at the start of the race, bumping a little bit and damaging his own car in the process, but the Pirtek backed car was able to keep going.

Further back in the pack, Ashley Sutton was again having problems. After a disappointing qualifying and a difficult race one, the rookie was trying to make his way through the pack.
Contact with Rob Collard sent him into a spin. The MG driver was able to recover, only to narrowly miss a Power Max Racing car on rejoining the track.

Back at the front, Turkington had finally made his way past Goff and into second, and now Tordoff was trying to get past his team mate. Tordoff made up for the race one disappointment as he overtook Goff, and then went on to get past Turkington and into second.

Tordoff attempted to go one better with a move around the outside of Plato, but the BMR driver wasn’t giving up. After finally getting his first win of the season, he wanted more.

Suddenly, Matt Neal was in on the action. Goff had fallen back after failing to get back past Turkington, and had Jordan right on his tale. Right behind Jordan was Neal.

The battle at the front was now between Plato, Turkington (who had retaken second), Tordoff, Goff, Jordan, and Neal. The fight for second made it look like Plato could run away with the win again, but it wasn’t over yet.

Neal managed to get past Jordan and Goff and had his eyes on the battle between Tordoff and Turkington. Tordoff had the advantage and was in second when the Honda was able to get past Turkington, demoting the BMR driver to fourth.

Plato’s lead wasn’t big enough and he soon had Tordoff running side by side with him again. The WSR driver stayed behind and Neal was able to slip past and into second place.

Now it was Neal alongside the race leader, and the Honda was able to succeed where Tordoff had failed, managing to get past Plato and into the lead. Tordoff took advantage and snatched second from Plato.

Behind them, Rob Collard had also apparently appeared from nowhere. He was side by side with Colin Turkington as they crossed the line, but would have to settle for fifth. It was still an amazing recovery from the driver who had had his best lap times removed in qualifying.

Race Three

Mat Jackson started race three on pole with the reverse grid draw, Rob Collard’s luck finally coming in as he started second. It wouldn’t be an easy race for Collard, though.

Jackson was able to keep the lead, benefitting from the battle between Collard and Turkington for second place. Not long into the race, contact between the two sent them both into the grass, and ended their races. It would be a weekend to forget for Collard after all.

The double DNF meant race two front runners Tordoff and Plato were promoted to the podium, whilst home favourite Gordon Shedden close behind. Tordoff, Plato, and Shedden were all able to catch up with Jackson and tried desperately to get past the Motorbase car, but Jackson held strong to take the race win.

“That was mega,” he said after the race. “He wasn’t going to get that win off me! I was determined it would be ours. A rear-wheel drive car around Knockhill is hard to beat so when I saw Rob [Collard] go I thought “great”. Then young Sam [Tordoff] came at us, but I managed to hold him off.”

Tordoff leaves Knockhill the top of the championship with a nine point gap to second place driver Matt Neal. Team mate Collard will be hoping for a little more luck at Knockhill in two weeks’ time as he now falls to thirty two points behind his team mate and is only three points ahead of Mat Jackson.

Feature Image Credit: Caroline Rhea

code Copy and paste this code on your eligible site
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

I accept the Privacy Policy

Most Popular

To Top