The HiQ fast fit network has raced to congratulate Jason Plato after 'one of the best championships in the world' concluded in style at Brands Hatch.
In a British Touring Car Championship season that nobody could take their eyes off from the very first race, it was fitting that a record 42,000 crowd travelled down to Kent to see the Silverline Chevrolet star lift the silverware.
Meanwhile, the coveted HiQ Teams' Championship was also concluded at Brands, with the Honda Racing Team running out comfortable winners ahead of Team Aon.
HiQ's marketing manager Geraldine McGovern said: "What a fantastic weekend of racing, which was a fitting end to a memorable season. It was wonderful to see so many spectators in glorious sunshine. We've got some memories to last us a very long time.
"On behalf of everyone at the HiQ fast fit network, we'd like to congratulate Jason for a brilliant job, and also the Honda Racing Team for their relentless pursuit of the HiQ Teams' Championship."
Plato won twice to be crowned Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Champion for the second time in his career and from the moment the red lights went out to start race one, he never looked like being denied.
Despite his Silverline Chevrolet Cruze carrying the maximum success ballast of 45kgs, Plato dominated the weekend with pole position on Saturday and lights-to-flag victories in the first and second races.
His win in race two was enough to add a second title to the one he won, also at Brands Hatch, in 2001. Furthermore, it meant he has equalled Andy Rouse's record of 60 race wins in the BTCC.
The final win of the season, in race three, then went the way of youngster Andrew Jordan who, from pole position on a reversed grid, led all the way for his second win of the season - and his career - in the Pirtek Racing team's Vauxhall Vectra, using BTCC organiser TOCA's new turbocharged NGTC engine.
Oxford's Plato (pictured) commented: "The BTCC is one of the very best championships in the world so to win it is a very magical feeling. Everyone in my team, Chevrolet and RML who prepare the car, are the best in the business and also a great family of people so it's a very joyous experience winning it for them. Sixty wins sounds nice but not as nice as 61!"
He added: "When I first started in the BTCC in 1997 with the Renault team I knew we had a fantastic car and it duly won the championship that year. Mid-way through this season when we unlocked all the secrets of the Chevrolet Cruze I got that same feeling again.
It has been a phenomenal car to race but, like I say, that's very much down to the people at Chevrolet and RML. Personally, I am of course delighted. I've been runner-up three times in the last four years so to finally get that second crown probably means I won't be such a pain in the backside to live with now!"
The three drivers who could have beaten Plato to the title today - Honda Racing Team team-mates Matt Neal and Gordon Shedden and Team Aon's Tom Onslow- Cole - duly finished second, third and fourth in the final standings. Neal finished third and then second in races one and two.
The best Shedden could manage was second in race one although it should be noted that, between them, he and Neal have achieved ten wins - five apiece - out of the season's 30 races in their Honda Civics.
Other drivers to achieve podium results at Brands Hatch included WSR's Robert Collard with a third in race two, plus Airwaves BMW's Steven Kane and Team Aon's Tom Chilton, second and third in race three. Notably, that third place for Chilton in his unique LPG-turbocharged Ford Focus was enough to clinch him the Independent Drivers' title by just two points from Kane. Onslow-Cole, who'd led the standings comfortably arriving at Brands, slipped to third after retiring from all three races.
Final BTCC Drivers' Points after Brands Hatch Indy (round 10 of 10):
1. Jason Plato, 260
2. Matt Neal, 229
3. Gordon Shedden, 218
4. Tom Onslow-Cole, 200
HiQ Teams' Points:
1. Honda Racing Team, 424
2. Team Aon, 366
3. Silverline Chevrolet, 322