Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Plato Set for Title Decider; Racer Jason Is in Pole Position for Championship

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Plato Set for Title Decider; Racer Jason Is in Pole Position for Championship

Article excerpt

Byline: Zoe Burn

JASON Plato will lead a four-way battle for supremacy as the British Touring Car Championship title fight goes to the wire.

After a weekend of highs and lows at Donington Park, the Tyneside-educated 2001 champion will arrive at the final round leading the championship.

But the former Kings School pupil knows he will have a fight on his hands, with three other drivers all capable of stealing his second title from him during the final three races of the year at Brands Hatch on October 10.

And he admits that he is as shocked as anyone to have left Donington still leading the title fight, after he was knocked off into the gravel and forced to retire from Sunday's first race.

After qualifying fifth in his Silverline Chevrolet Cruze, Plato had been embroiled in a five-way battle for fourth place as the race hit just over half distance.

Desperate to find a way past main rival Matt Neal on Lap 12, he gave Neal's Honda Racing Civic a slight nudge as they headed into the new chicane at the end of the lap - and carnage followed.

Neal had nowhere to go and hit the grass before careering back across to hit Plato, forcing him off the track and hurtling into the barriers with broken steering. While three other cars also crashed out, Neal and Team Aon Ford's Tom Onslow Cole were able to keep going, and finished fifth and eighth respectively, adding to their points tally. The Chevrolet squad hastily rebuilt Plato's Cruze in time for the second race, where he had to start form a lowly 19th spot. But it was a race which was to show his class as a racing driver, as he scorched through the pack all the way up to third place, and even managed to set the fastest lap on his way around to score an extra point.

"Sixth was my target so third is a big bonus," he said. …

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