Tom Ingram emerged victorious from a dramatic curtain-raiser to this years British Touring Car Championship season as multiple champions Matt Neal and Colin Turkington collided off the start.
Defending champion Gordon Shedden took a narrow second after edging out Adam Morgan, whilst pole-sitter Jeff Smith suffered heartbreak after being forced to pit at half distance with a suspected issue with the front-left wheel.
Ingram seized the lead in the early stages from Smith, taking to the outside line at Paddock Hill bend before stretching an advantage of around three seconds at the flag.
Moving across from the second row to cover off the fast-starting Turkington, Neal collided with the rear-left of the BMW 125i M Sport and sent both back across the circuit onto the grass opposite, narrowly missing Morgan’s Mercedes A-Class. Both retired on the spot.
Shedden tried in vain to lead a challenge for the race win for Honda, but pressure late in the contest from Morgan saw his priority shift to defense and he narrowly retained the runner-up spot.
Jack Goff went some way to mend Eurotech’s heartbreak with an impressive fourth, first besting the best-placed BMW of Andrew Jordan before emerging on top of a dice with Rob Austin.
A late race surge from Rob Collard saw him claim seventh, whilst the top ten was rounded out by a career-best eighth for Michael Epps, the Motorbase Ford of Mat Jackson and Tom Chilton on Vauxhall’s return to the championship. Vauxhall also emerged victorious in the manufacturer stakes.
Dave Newsham was the only other casualty of the race as his front-left wheel detached on Cooper Straight in an incident reminiscent of Aiden Moffat’s during free practice yesterday. The Chevrolet Cruze parked up relatively undamaged, but the repeat problem if confirmed is likely to cause controversy.
Jason Plato was unable to climb higher than 12th after spending the majority of the race stuck in the wheel tracks of Matt Simpson’s Honda Civic Type-R, the Subaru Levorg GT having suffered handling issues earlier in the weekend.
Senna Proctor took the Jack Sears Trophy honours on his competitive debut with 17th.
The result sees Tom Ingram take the early advantage in the Drivers Championship, and he will line-up alongside Gordon Shedden on pole position for the second race at 14:17 in a repeat of last season.
|1||80||Tom INGRAM||Speedworks Motorsport||Toyota Avensis||27||24:23.405||48.769||2|
|2||52||M||Gordon SHEDDEN||Halfords Yuasa Racing||Honda Civic Type R||27||3.181||48.742||3|
|3||33||Adam MORGAN||Ciceley Motorsport||Mercedes-Benz A-Class||27||3.348||48.760||6|
|4||31||Jack GOFF||Eurotech Racing||Honda Civic Type R||27||12.387||49.069||7|
|5||11||Rob AUSTIN||Handy Motorsport||Toyota Avensis||27||16.41||49.132||8|
|6||77||M||Andrew JORDAN||BMW Pirtek Racing||BMW 125i M Sport||27||16.61||49.248||11|
|7||5||M||Rob COLLARD||Team BMW||BMW 125i M Sport||27||16.76||49.011||15|
|8||3||Mat JACKSON||Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo||Ford Focus||27||18.109||49.125||14|
|9||12||Mike EPPS||Autoaid / RCIB Insurance Racing||Volkswagen CC||27||18.326||48.958||13|
|10||2||M||Tom CHILTON||Power Maxed Racing||Vauxhall Astra||27||18.632||49.054||12|
|11||303||M||Matt SIMPSON||Simpson Racing||Honda Civic Type R||27||20.347||49.296||10|
|12||99||M||Jason PLATO||Adrian Flux Subaru Racing||Subaru Levorg GT||27||20.705||49.283||18|
|13||66||Josh COOK||Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport||Ford Focus||27||22.792||49.317||21|
|14||40||M||Árón TAYLOR-SMITH||MG Racing RCIB Insurance||MG6GT||27||23.589||49.397||19|
|15||30||Martin DEPPER||Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo||Ford Focus||27||25.015||49.376||24|
|16||116||M||Ashley SUTTON||Adrian Flux Subaru Racing||Subaru Levorg GT||27||25.517||48.971||22|
|17||18||M||Senna PROCTOR||Power Maxed Racing||Vauxhall Astra||27||26.153||49.363||16|
|18||16||Aiden MOFFAT||Laser Tools Racing||Mercedes-Benz A-Class||27||27.137||49.140||23|
|19||300||Luke DAVENPORT||Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Duo||Ford Focus||27||27.917||49.021||17|
|20||7||Stephen JELLEY||Team Parker with Maximum Motorsport||Ford Focus||27||28.169||49.330||20|
|21||22||Chris SMILEY||BTC Norlin Racing||Chevrolet Cruze||27||28.226||49.368||28|
|22||48||Ollie JACKSON||AmDtuning.com with Cobra Exhausts||Audi S3||27||28.721||49.326||29|
|23||23||M||Daniel LLOYD||MG Racing RCIB Insurance||MG6GT||27||32.441||49.179||25|
|24||28||M||Josh PRICE||BMR Racing Academy||Subaru Levorg GT||27||36.234||49.513||31|
|25||10||Ant WHORTON-EALES||AmDtuning.com with Cobra Exhausts||Audi S3||26||1 Lap||49.282||26|
|26||61||Will BURNS||Autoaid / RCIB Insurance Racing||Volkswagen CC||25||2 Laps||49.373||30|
|R||20||M||James COLE||Adrian Flux Subaru Racing||Subaru Levorg GT||23||4 Laps||49.395||27|
|NC||24||Jake HILL||TAG Racing||Volkswagen CC||21||6 Laps||49.245||9|
|R||55||Jeff SMITH||Eurotech Racing||Honda Civic Type R||14||13 Laps||49.061||1|
|R||17||Dave NEWSHAM||BTC Norlin Racing||Chevrolet Cruze||11||16 Laps||49.412||32|
|R||25||M||Matt NEAL||Halfords Yuasa Racing||Honda Civic Type R||0||27 Laps||N/A||4|
|R||4||M||Colin TURKINGTON||Team BMW||BMW 125i M Sport||0||27 Laps||N/A||5|