Ash Sutton resisted late-race pressure from Team BMR stable-mate Jason Plato to claim victory in the opening British Touring Car Championship race at Croft.
It marks the reigning champion and BMR’s first victory of the season, with the two Subaru Levorg GT machines split by 0.8 seconds at the chequered flag.
Plato bogged down initially at the start and surrendered the runner-up spot to the Pirtek-backed BMW 1-series of Andrew Jordan.
An early safety car after contact between Rob Austin and Josh Cook pitched the former over the bow of the Vauxhall Astra and into Stephen Jelley’s BMW 1-series.
The Alfa Romeo Giulietta was rendered a spectator on the spot, whilst Jelley limped back into the pits before parking up.
Once released, Sutton made a flawless restart whilst team-mate Plato attempted to find a way past 2013 series winner Jordan.
Hed eventually succeeded after squeezing through at the chicane, but not before Sutton had taken the opportunity to build an advantage of 1.8 seconds.
Though Plato cut his way through that deficit in the closing laps, he was forced to settle for the bridesmaid role in the team’s first podium finish, victory and 1-2 of the season.
Late drama handed Tom Ingram the final spot on the rostrum after Jordan – struggling with rear tyres – went off circuit at Clervaux, skimming through the gravel before rejoining further down the order.
Sam Tordoff came next in fourth behind the wheel of Motorbase’s Ford Focus RS, doing well to fend off the BMW pairing of championship leader Colin Turkington – who extends his points advantage by five points – and Rob Collard.
Cook piled on the pressure but managed no better than seventh, ahead of a season-best result for Dan Lloyd on his first race without ballast for joining the category late.
Matt Neal led Team Dynamics’ charge in ninth, though team-mate Dan Cammish only managed 19th via sizeable contact with Tom Chilton at the Hairpin.
Jordan would eventually round out the top ten, leading home Brands Hatch race-winner Senna Proctor.
James Cole and Tom Chilton made it all three Motorbase machines in the points in 12th and 15th, sandwiching the AmD pairing of Rory Butcher and Ollie Jackson in the MG6 and Audi S3 respectively.
It proved a poor affair by and large for the majority of championship contenders, with Jack Goff only classified 21st for Eurotech Racing and Adam Morgan forced to retire with suspension damage.
Ingram has, as a result, leapt up to second in the points, and will look to thin Turkington’s advantage in the second contest at 14:45 BST.
|1||1||M||Ashley SUTTON||Adrian Flux Subaru Racing||Subaru Levorg GT||17||26:50.484||1:25.633||1|
|2||99||M||Jason PLATO||Adrian Flux Subaru Racing||Subaru Levorg GT||17||0.863||1:25.725||2|
|3||80||Tom INGRAM||Speedworks Motorsport||Toyota Avensis||17||8.897||1:25.996||5|
|4||600||Sam TORDOFF||Team GardX Racing with Motorbase||Ford Focus RS||17||11.293||1:26.053||4|
|5||2||M||Colin TURKINGTON||Team BMW||BMW 125i M Sport||17||11.450||1:25.962||6|
|6||5||M||Rob COLLARD||Team BMW||BMW 125i M Sport||17||11.696||1:26.148||7|
|7||66||M||Josh COOK||Power Maxed TAG Racing||Vauxhall Astra||17||12.304||1:26.062||9|
|8||26||Daniel LLOYD||BTC Norlin Racing||Honda Civic Type R||17||16.247||1:26.111||11|
|9||25||M||Matt NEAL||Halfords Yuasa Racing||Honda Civic Type R||17||18.222||1:26.032||15|
|10||77||M||Andrew JORDAN||BMW Pirtek Racing||BMW 125i M Sport||17||19.114||1:25.784||3|
|11||18||M||Senna PROCTOR||Power Maxed TAG Racing||Vauxhall Astra||17||20.177||1:26.582||14|
|12||20||James COLE||Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher||Ford Focus RS||17||23.658||1:26.128||12|
|13||6||Rory BUTCHER||AmD with AutoAid / RCIB Insurance Racing||MG 6||17||26.969||1:27.092||13|
|14||48||Ollie JACKSON||AmD with Cobra Exhausts||Audi S3||17||30.579||1:26.954||16|
|15||3||Tom CHILTON||Team Shredded Wheat Racing with Gallagher||Ford Focus RS||17||30.766||1:26.949||17|
|16||15||Tom OLIPHANT||Ciceley Motorsport||Mercedes-Benz A-Class||17||31.436||1:26.896||18|
|17||22||Chris SMILEY||BTC Norlin Racing||Honda Civic Type R||17||35.249||1:26.956||23|
|18||28||Josh PRICE||Autoglym Academy Racing||Subaru Levorg GT||17||38.086||1:26.654||21|
|19||27||M||Dan CAMMISH||Halfords Yuasa Racing||Honda Civic Type R||17||38.381||1:26.878||20|
|20||21||Mike BUSHELL||Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing||Volkswagen CC||17||38.504||1:27.052||19|
|21||31||Jack GOFF||WIX Racing with Eurotech||Honda Civic Type R||17||38.769||1:26.818||26|
|22||303||Matt SIMPSON||Simpson Racing||Honda Civic Type R||17||39.812||1:26.897||27|
|23||44||Michael CAINE||Team HARD. with Trade Price Cars||Volkswagen CC||17||40.311||1:27.034||29|
|24||19||Bobby THOMPSON||Team HARD. with Trade Price Cars||Volkswagen CC||17||47.813||1:26.922||30|
|25||23||Sam SMELT||AmD with Cobra Exhausts||Audi S3||17||49.022||1:27.576||32|
|26||12||Tom BOARDMAN||AmD with AutoAid / RCIB Insurance Racing||MG 6||17||57.132||1:27.242||31|
|R||16||Aiden MOFFAT||Laser Tools Racing||Mercedes-Benz A-Class||14||DNF||1:26.769||24|
|R||39||Brett SMITH||WIX Racing with Eurotech||Honda Civic Type R||14||DNF||1:27.312||28|
|R||33||Adam MORGAN||MAC Tools with Ciceley Motorsport||Mercedes-Benz A-Class||10||DNF||1:27.319||22|
|R||24||Jake HILL||Trade Price Cars with Brisky Racing||Volkswagen CC||2||DNF||2:18.530||25|
|R||60||Stephen JELLEY||Team Parker Racing||BMW 125i M Sport||1||DNF||N/A||8|
|R||11||Rob AUSTIN||DUO Motorsport with HMS Racing||Alfa Romeo Giulietta||0||DNF||N/A||10|