The TV commentators sucked their teeth and said things like “ooh, it’s a bit hard to tell what’s happened from that angle.”
What garbage. They were looking at footage of a collision between Jason Plato and Tom Onslow-Cole in this afternoon’s third British Touring Car race at Knockhill.
Plato is chasing Fabrizio Giovanardi (Onslow-Cole’s team mate) in the championship and had moved down the inside of Onslow-Cole at the hairpin. Plato appeared to have left enough room at the exit for Onslow-Cole, but the Vauxhall driver slewed into the side of Plato’s seat, tipping him straight into the barrier.
It all looked a bit too convenient to have been an accident. Especially as Onslow-Cole had already hit Plato’s team mate Darren Turner in race one. Not just hit – but shoved him onto the grass as the two headed for turn three.
Vauxhall are unhappy with what they perceive as technical rules that favour Seat and it was hard to avoid the impression that Onslow-Cole’s instructions for this race were to level things up by walloping Seats when the opportunity presented itself.
Plato won the first two raes but, with Giovanardi in his wheel tracks, made virtually no impression on the Italian’s championship lead. Then in the semi-reverse grid race he found himself duelling with Vauxhalls when the inevitable hit happened.
What is particularly disappointing is that Giovanardi doesn’t need dubious driving from his team mates to win the title. He is gigantically experienced in the ways of touring car racing and every weekend we see him dodging disaster and racking up the points.
Even with the Seat’s performance advantage (Turner won race three) Plato would be unlikely to beat Giovanardi. The dodgy driving by his team mates is not necessary.