The first round of the BTCC held at a cold Brands Hatch sees Jason Plato leading the 2013 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championships.
On the Brands ‘Indy circuit’ Jason took 2 wins from the first three races of the season. In race one the A4 Audi of Rob Austin starting on 7th place of the grid and using the new Dunlop softer tyre made a blistering start and roared into an early lead, Austin showed what the Audis’ are capable of when he recorded the fastest lap of the day with a time of 48.968.
But both Plato and Andrew Jordan managed to slip past, although their own battle almost handed the lead back to Austin when Jordan made a dramatic attempt to take victory but his move resulted in both cars sliding of the track, amazingly they both managed to recover themselves and were back on the circuit before Rob arrived on the scene.
1st Jason Plato MG6 MG KX Momentum Racing.
2nd Andrew Jordan Honda Civic Pirtek Racing +2.168.
3rd Rob Austin Audi A4 WIX Racing.
Race one also saw James Kaye for AMD take 1st place in the S2000 class, for the Jack Sears Trophy and Austins team mate Bratt take 12th place so also in the points.
New contenders for the 2013 season are the VW Passat CCs’ managed by Tony Gilham of HARD Racing, although racing under the name of PPCGB.com/Kraftwerk Racing.
Drivers Tom Onslow-Cole and Howard fuller were both at the media day at Donnington however only the Passat of Onslow-Cole was competing this weekend coming in 14th in the 1st race.
Race two saw Plato lead throughout, taking his 76th win of his BTCC racing career. Jordan again came in second ahead of a the flying Honda of Gordon Shedden, however Shedden’s win was short lived when he was excluded due to his car failing post race scrutineering due to ride height regulations, this handed 3rd place to Jeff Smith giving Pirtek Racing a 2nd & 3rd.
Race 2 also saw Austin’s luck start to change, although getting a good start; he was spun out on by the Toyota of Frank Wrathell coming down into Graham Hill bend causing him to lose out on points, whilst his team mate Bratt had a DNF along with the the VW Passat of Onslow Cole however James Kaye in the VW golf managed 12th Place for AMD.
1st Jason Plato MG6 MG KX Momentum Racing
2nd Andrew Jordan Honda Civic Pirtek Racing +0.989
3rd Jeff Smith Honda Civic Pirtek Racing +8.245
The final race of the day saw Austin starting from row 9 due to the incident with Wrathell in race 2.
Matt Neal take an early lead from Pole position sitter Mat Jackson after he slid wide at Druids allowing Neal to go through, Neal dominated the rest of the race until a late challenge from his team mate Shedden who started at the back of the grid driving and blinding race took 2nd place.
The final race also included a massive accident when Dave Newsham spun out in his Toyota Avensis in the dip between Paddock and Druids, Austin tried to take evasive action but clipped Newshams car, causing the Audi to career across the grass at high speed and collide heavily with the barrier on the inside of the circuit.
Both drivers were escaped unhurt, and when interviewed Austin admitted “it’s a crushing blow” “After the incredible effort everyone in my team has put in to get to where we are, we did not deserve to have our day end like this. The car is a mess but underneath it’s not as bad as it looks – some of the team wanted to come into the workshop on Easter Monday to get started on fixing it but I’ve insisted they take the day off after all the work they’ve put in. Then it’ll be all hands on deck restoring it for the next event at Donington Park in three weeks.
1st Matt Neal Honda Civic Honda Yuasa Racing
2nd Gordon Shedden Honda Civic Honda Yuasa Racing +0.083
3rd Sam Tordoff MG6 MG KX Momentum Racing +1.216
Words and images Ann Chinsang
Drive By Shooters Photography