Árón Smith tooks his first-ever win in the British Touring Car Championship at Brands Hatch, whilst Gordon Shedden secured the 2012 title by following the Irishman home in second position.
Tom Onslow-Cole took the lead at the start of the race from third on the grid, with poleman Matt Neal dropping to third behind Smith’s Ford. At Druids on the opening tour Shedden made contact with the rear of Rob Collard’s BMW, following a tap himself from Jason Plato. The result saw Collard spin in front of the pack and the eBay Motors driver was collected by Will Bratt’s Audi A4. The incident spelt the end of Collard’s Independent title bid and brought out the safety car.
When the race resumed Smith overtook Onslow-Cole at Druids to take a lead that he would be able to hold on to until the flag. The Irishman wouldn’t have it easy though – a second safety car period resulted when Nick Foster made contact with Dan Welch at Paddock Hill and Jason Plato made contact with Dave Newsham.
Shedden moved into third after the second restart, passing team-mate Neal, which became second when Onslow-Cole went off on his own at Surtees two laps later.
Shedden held on to finish in second – his fastest lap proving enough to secure him his first BTCC title. Neal finished in third to pass Plato in the championship.
Fourth went to Andrew Jordan, who secured the Independent Drivers title after Collard’s incident earlier in the race. He finished ahead of Plato, who was unable to make significant progress in the race.
Frank Wrathall took sixth after a superb drive from the back of the grid, ahead of Mat Jackson who also started at the back and followed the Toyota through the field.
Jeff Smith finished eighth, with Lea Wood and Rob Austin completing the top ten.
Several drivers failed to finish the race, notably Adam Morgan who suffered a heavy crash on the tenth lap. Aaron Williamson and Tom Onslow-Cole also went off in avoidance, causing Williamson’s retirement and Onslow-Cole to limp home in 15th.
The final BTCC race of the season takes place at 16:45.