Mat Jackson cantered to victory in the opening British Touring Car Championship race at Rockingham, ahead of Gordon Shedden and Aron Smith.
A composed driver from Jackson saw him gradually edge away from the rest of the pack before easing off on the final lap, to claim his and his Motorbase team’s first win of the season.
Having secured a first pole for Motorbase in qualifying, Jackson led away from pole as the race started as Tom Ingram was swamped behind him.
There was a problem almost immediately for Jason Plato, however, as his car crabbed on the exit of Yentwood after contact from Ingram’s Speedworks Toyota.
Plato returned to the pits at the end of the lap, and although his team were able to fix a suspected suspension issue, the Team BMR driver finished two laps down and has now lost his championship lead.
Shedden appeared eager to make up for a mistake in qualifying yesterday and quickly dispatched Jack Goff for third on Lap 2, before passing Smith a lap later.
By this point, however, Jackson had already stretched his lead to 2.451s ahead of the chasing pack, and Shedden – having set the fastest lap of the race – appeared content as he crossed the line behind a jubilant Jackson, who nursed his Ford Focus home on the final lap to avoid a puncture.
Second place also means Shedden assumes the lead of the championship following Plato’s problems.
Smith was forced to hold on to third in the closing stages from a resurgent Goff, while ten second further back Ingram recovered from his slow getaway to claim fifth.
Matt Neal looked set for that placing until his front-left tyre gave way on the final lap, as he conceded positions to Ingram, Andrew Jordan and Colin Turkington before the chequered flag.
Adam Morgan finished ninth, but will start race two on the front row after posting the second fastest lap time, while Sam Tordoff completed the top ten.
Race Two gets underway at 13:52 BST.
Points scoring result
|1||4||Mat JACKSON||Motorbase Performance||Ford Focus||16||22:32.922||1:23.238||1|
|2||52||M||Gordon SHEDDEN||Honda Yuasa Racing||Honda Civic Type R||16||1.832||1:23.193||3|
|3||40||Árón SMITH||Team BMR RCIB Insurance||Volkswagen CC||16||3.686||1:23.658||2|
|4||31||M||Jack GOFF||MG 888 Racing||MG 6GT||16||4.317||1:23.415||4|
|5||80||Tom INGRAM||Speedworks Motorsport||Toyota Avensis||16||14.622||1:23.822||5|
|6||77||M||Andrew JORDAN||MG 888 Racing||MG 6GT||16||17.285||1:23.754||10|
|7||1||Colin TURKINGTON||Team BMR RCIB Insurance||Volkswagen CC||16||18.422||1:23.508||9|
|8||25||M||Matt NEAL||Honda Yuasa Racing||Honda Civic Type R||16||21.431||1:23.632||7|
|9||33||Adam MORGAN||WIX Racing||Mercedes Benz A-Class||16||23.231||1:23.233||19|
|10||7||C||Sam TORDOFF||Team JCT600 with GardX||BMW 125i M Sport||16||23.438||1:23.846||11|
|11||17||Dave NEWSHAM||Power Maxed Racing||Chevrolet Cruze||16||25.832||1:23.867||16|
|12||44||James COLE||Motorbase Performance||Ford Focus||16||28.091||1:24.022||14|
|13||66||Josh COOK||Power Maxed Racing||Chevrolet Cruze||16||29.309||1:23.824||12|
|14||30||Martin DEPPER||Eurotech Racing||Honda Civic||16||30.216||1:24.502||21|
|15||21||Mike BUSHELL||AmD Tuning.com||Ford Focus||16||34.259||1:24.633||23|