Tom Ingram won a race on the opening day of the British Touring Car Championship for the third successive season courtesy of a reverse-grid success at Brands Hatch.
The result also means the Speedworks Motorsport driver takes a three-point advantage over Jack Goff (Eurotech Racing) to the next event at Donington Park on 28-29 April.
Pole-sitter Rob Austin made the best start, but was ultimately powerless to prevent the Toyota Avensis model he ditched ahead of 2018 from denying his Alfa Romeo Giulietta its maiden victory.
Austin was then bested by Adam Morgan’s Mercedes-Benz A Class at Paddock Hill Bend on the final lap of the race, but nevertheless took a first podium for the returning Italian marque.
Ashley Sutton repeated his forward momentum from the second race and secured fourth ahead of Team.HARD’s Mike Bushell, who put in a strong showing behind the wheel of the Volkswagen CC on his return to the championship.
Rory Butcher equally cemented a strong start to life between AmD and the MG6 GT with sixth, and Matt Simpson rounded out his strongest weekend to date in the series with seventh.
Jack Goff had looked likely to be Ingram’s closest challenger with a strong patch mid-race, but wilted as the contest endured and eventually took eighth.
A resurgent Colin Turkington came through from the rear of the field to take ninth, with Josh Cook rounding out the top ten in the Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall Astra.
Team-mate and race two winner Senna Proctor ended up 15th with a full quota of success ballast, but conversely Matt Neal registered his first points of the weekend in the Honda Civic Type R FK7 with 12th.
It proved another frustrating contest for Turkington’s BMW team mates Andrew Jordan and Rob Collard, the former only able to manage P17 and the latter ended his weekend in the Druids gravel trap after contact with James Cole’s Ford Focus RS.
Double champion Jason Plato notably leaves the opening meeting without a point to his name, though team mate Sutton took his maiden title from the same situation this time last year.
Aiden Moffat will be disappointed with 21st after contact at Clearways with Bushell hampered his progress, and Jake Hill was never able to take advantage of his high grid placing after pulling in on the formation lap.
|1||80||Tom INGRAM||Speedworks Motorsport||Toyota Avensis||27||23:52.580||49.012||11|
|2||33||Adam MORGAN||MAC Tools with Ciceley Motorsport||Mercedes-Benz A-Class||27||3.237||49.127||13|
|3||11||Rob AUSTIN||DUO Motorsport with HMS Racing||Alfa Romeo Giulietta||27||4.202||49.409||1|
|4||1||M||Ashley SUTTON||Adrian Flux Subaru Racing||Subaru Levorg GT||27||8.939||49.161||12|
|5||21||Mike BUSHELL||Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing||Volkswagen CC||27||10.376||49.374||8|
|6||6||Rory BUTCHER||AmD with AutoAid / RCIB Insurance Racing||MG6||27||10.5||49.384||9|
|7||303||Matt SIMPSON||Simpson Racing||Honda Civic Type R||27||10.992||49.594||7|
|8||31||Jack GOFF||WIX Racing with Eurotech||Honda Civic Type R||27||11.913||49.299||10|
|9||2||M||Colin TURKINGTON||Team BMW||BMW 125i M Sport||27||12.068||48.500||27|
|10||66||M||Josh COOK||Power Maxed TAG Racing||Vauxhall Astra||27||12.503||49.160||15|
|11||27||M||Dan CAMMISH||Halfords Yuasa Racing||Honda Civic Type R||27||12.894||49.296||16|
|12||25||M||Matt NEAL||Halfords Yuasa Racing||Honda Civic Type R||27||14.628||48.898||29|
|13||600||Sam TORDOFF||Team GardX Racing with Motorbase||Ford Focus RS||27||15.033||48.972||18|
|14||48||Ollie JACKSON||AmD with Cobra Exhausts||Audi S3||27||15.127||49.745||4|
|15||18||M||Senna PROCTOR||Power Maxed TAG Racing||Vauxhall Astra||27||15.634||49.532||6|
|16||22||Chris SMILEY||BTC Norlin Racing||Honda Civic Type R||27||17.254||49.473||17|
|17||77||M||Andrew JORDAN||BMW Pirtek Racing||BMW 125i M Sport||27||17.321||49.154||21|
|18||12||Tom BOARDMAN||AmD with AutoAid / RCIB Insurance Racing||MG6||27||20.438||49.964||3|
|19||99||M||Jason PLATO||Adrian Flux Subaru Racing||Subaru Levorg GT||27||21.777||49.277||22|
|20||15||Tom OLIPHANT||Ciceley Motorsport||Mercedes-Benz A-Class||27||22.413||49.106||31|
|21||16||Aiden MOFFAT||Laser Tools Racing||Mercedes-Benz A-Class||27||22.831||49.806||2|
|22||39||Brett SMITH||WIX Racing with Eurotech||Honda Civic Type R||27||26.435||49.881||20|
|23||60||Stephen JELLEY||Team Parker Racing||BMW 125i M Sport||27||26.775||49.073||32|
|24||44||Michael CAINE||Team HARD. with Trade Price Cars||Volkswagen CC||27||26.953||49.676||24|
|25||23||Sam SMELT||AmD with Cobra Exhausts||Audi S3||27||28.041||49.927||25|
|26||19||Bobby THOMPSON||Team HARD. with Trade Price Cars||Volkswagen CC||27||28.288||49.629||30|
|27||3||Tom CHILTON||Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher||Ford Focus RS||25||2 Laps||49.743||28|
|28||28||Josh PRICE||Autoglym Academy Racing||Subaru Levorg GT||25||2 Laps||49.431||23|
|29||24||Jake HILL||Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing||Volkswagen CC||24||3 Laps||49.529||5|
|R||14||James NASH||BTC Norlin Racing||Honda Civic Type R||7||DNF||50.398||14|
|R||20||James COLE||Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher||Ford Focus RS||1||DNF||1:02.820||19|
|R||5||M||Rob COLLARD||Team BMW||BMW 125i M Sport||1||DNF||1:03.291||26|