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April 1st, 2012
Jason Plato took victory on the first weekend of MG’s return to the British Touring Car Championship in Brands Hatch’s reversed-grid race.
Plato was fifth when the first attempt at the race was red-flagged. Mat Jackson’s Motorbase Ford Focus, which had been running second, ran wide at Paddock and then dropped fluid on the approach to Druids.
The chasing Rob Austin (Audi) had a moment on the fluid, before seven cars subsequently went off and the red flags flew.
Rob Collard’s WSR BMW, which had led the first effort, also took the lead of the restarted race, chased by Austin and Andrew Jordan’s Eurotech Honda Civic.
Despite a moment at Graham Hill Bend, Plato fought off Dave Newsham’s ES Racing Vauxhall Vectra for fourth and chased after the lead trio.
As the race wore on Collard and Austin faded. Jordan forced his way by both at Clearways on consecutive laps, but Plato’s Triple Eight MG6 soon followed.
He quickly closed on Jordan and put the Honda driver under intense pressure. Jordan held on until, with five laps to go, he left a small gap at Clearways.
Plato forced his way past and pulled clear to score the first win for the MG6, which had not had a proper test until the week before Brands.
Behind Jordan, Newsham completed the podium, despite a late charge from Gordon Shedden’s works Honda. After a torrid day beset by electrical problems, Shedden finally got a clean run and showed impressive pace as he charged through the pack to fourth.
Jeff Smith (Eurotech) made it three Hondas in the top five, after barging past Collard in a move that also allowed Austin to claim sixth.
Reigning champion Matt Neal recovered from a first corner moment to take eighth.