Jason Plato took victory in the first race of the day at a warm and sunny Snetterton. The KX Momentum Racing MG driver recorded his 71st career win, heading home Frank Wrathall who had started from pole, and Andrew Jordan who left it late to snatch the final place on the podium from Dave Newsham.
As the lights went out Plato made a much better getaway than pole sitter Wrathall to lead into the first corner Riches, while Newsham also capitalised on the sluggish start from the Dynojet Toyota driver to move into second place. Further round the lap there was drama for Adam Morgan who spun out of fifth position after putting a wheel on the grass, this allowed Matt Neal to move up to fifth from seventh on the gird, having already dispatched Dan Welch off the line.
The safety car was brought out on lap three as the recovering Morgan collided with debutant Robb Holland sending both of them into the barriers at Riches and out of the race.
The race resumed on lap eight and was extended by three laps to fifteen in total. Plato initially made a good restart, pulling out half a second over Newsham but the ES Racing driver reeled back in the double champion and on lap ten tried an ambitious attempt to go all the way around the outside of Plato at Riches. The move didn’t work and he ran wide allowing Wrathall to gain momentum on him and slip down the inside into second at the Montreal Hairpin.
Plato continued to control the race pulling out a lead of 2.5 seconds before backing off his pace slightly in the closing stages to look after his tyres. This allowed Wrathall to close in on him slightly but he was never close enough to mount a serious challenge for the lead. At the chequered flag Plato’s winning margin was 1.8 seconds.
Behind the front two a dramatic battle for third developed in the last few laps as Jordan caught and pressurised Newsham. It looked as if the latter would hold on but on the final lap Jordan muscled his way through only for Newsham to drive straight back past him on the Revett Straight. However Newsham struggled to get his car stopped and Jordan nudged into the back of him at the apex to reclaim third spot which he held for the last few corners of the race.
Matt Neal finished a rather lonely fifth to extend his championship lead to four points. Dan Welch was sixth just holding off the attentions of Tom Onslow-Cole as the pair crossed the line separated by little more than half a second.
Gordon Shedden finished eighth having started from the back of the grid, with Mat Jackson ninth in his first race behind the wheel of the NGTC spec Ford Focus. Lea Wood rounded out the top ten. Jeff Smith, Nick Foster, Rob Austin, Tony Gilham and Aron Smith completed the point scorers.
After the race, Dave Newsham was excluded from the results, with his car found to be below the minimum weight required. This promoted everyone who finished behind him one position.
The second race of the day begins at 14:45 and can be seen live on ITV4
For the full race classification, click here.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Hobley