Jason Plato took the first win for the new Triple Eight Race Engineering NGTC MG in the third race of the 2012 British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch, which was restarted after a red flag.
Ollie Jackson started on pole after the top eight finishers from race two were reversed for the third BTCC race. However his lead was short lived as the rear wheel drive BMW of Rob Collard rounded up Jackson and Jeff Smith off the line to take the lead into the first corner. After starting in fifth Mat Jackson was able to follow Collard through for second. Rob Austin also made up a place in the opening lap to run third after starting fourth.
Andy Neate went off onto grass on second lap but was able to recover. On the following lap Mat Jackson ran wide at Paddock Bend, sustaining damage which saw him spill fluid on the way up to Druids. Ollie Jackson was the first to be caught up in this, with a further six cars joining him in the gravel at Druids, including Tony Gilham, Daniel Welch, Tom Onslow-Cole, Adam Morgan, Aron Smith and Tony Hughes. Mat Jackson pulled off track after the spillage. Gordon Shedden’s issues continued as he parked his car in the garage.
Those cars that weren’t caught up in the accident lined up on the grid after the red flag, with the drivers out of their cars as they waited for the restart. A number of the cars were able to make their way back to the pits after the incident and were allowed to restart the race on the grid. Rejoining were Aron Smith, Tony Gilham, Tony Hughes and Gordon Shedden. After not being able to initially fire up on the restart Frank Wrathall joined the queue behind these cars on the formation lap.
Collard led them away on the restart with Austin in second and Jordan in third for a twenty lap race. Race two winner Matt Neal went off on the grass on the opening lap to rejoin at the back of the field. Dave Newsham was able to overtake Jason Plato for fourth, but Plato re-overtook him shortly afterwards.
Both Andy Neate and Frank Wrathall had to tour the pit lane after being given drive though penalties. At the front of the field Andrew Jordan was able to round up Rob Austin on the seventh lap to move into second, with Jason Plato also overtaking Austin to take third. Andrew Jordan closed in on Collard and took the lead on lap eight. Jason Plato also rounded Collard up on the following lap to move into second. Newsham moved up into third after overtaking Austin and Collard.
Jordan was able to hold off Plato’s attempts at an overtake as they made their way past the backmarkers. However on lap fifteen Plato was able to pass the NGTC Honda for the race lead. Released from behind Jordan, Plato immediately began to build margin on the rest of the field. Behind them Gordon Shedden was making fast progress through the field, crossing the line fourth after twenty laps. However Shedden’s result was later excluded as his car was not running at the time the red flag came out.
In the end it was Jason Plato who took the win in the new Triple Eight Race Engineering NGTC MG. Eurotech Racing’s Andrew Jordan finished second with Dave Newsham in third for ES Racing.
The next round of the 2012 British Touring Car Championship will be held at Donington Park on April 14-15.