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MOTORSPORT: Plato proud after stirring late charge
11:00am Tuesday 15th October 2013 in Sport
Jason Plato storms away from the field on the opening lap of the first race at Brands Hatch Pictures: Lee Foxon
JASON Plato set up a gripping finish to the season as back-to-back victories at Brands Hatch gave the outsider a chance of snatching the title.
The MG KX Momentum driver went into the last round on Sunday with only a mathematical interest in the standings.
But wins in the first two races in wet conditions at the Kent circuit, coupled with rivals dropping points, catapulted the Oxford star into contention.
He needed a podium finish in the season finale to be in the running for a third BTCC title, but he faded in the second half of the race.
A tenth place finish ended his tilt, as Andrew Jordan claimed the glory by crossing the line in ninth.
A rueful Plato was left to wonder what might have been, but paid tribute to the new champion.
He said: “I wish I could have put in a better performance in race three. The conditions were difficult and we just couldn’t get the car working like it was in the first two races.
“I knew going into the race it was going to be tough.
“I’m still very pleased. We came into the weekend, got pole and then maximum scores in races one and two.
“Andrew is genuinely a very worthy champion, he’s driven fantastically well this year.
“I’ve known his team and his dad for a long time and seen them grow into a very good outfit.”
The 46-year-old finished the season in third place, 17 points behind Jordan.
After a strong end to the season, thoughts have already turned to making the improvements needed when next season begins at Brands in March.
He said: “We’ve got a long winter ahead of us to try and improve the car – we really need to win it next year!”
Final Standings: 1 A Jordan 397pts, 2 G Shedden 390, 3 J Plato 380, 4 M Neal 356, 5 C Turkington 347, 6 S Tordoff 286, 7 A Morgan 233, 8 M Jackson 225, 9 A Smith 201, 10 D Newsham 176.
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