Aiden Moffat prevailed in a hard-fought battle with Jake Hill in the opening British Touring Car Championship race at Croft, securing his first victory in Infiniti machinery and the fourth of his career.
Moffat made a good start in his rear-wheel drive Infiniti to lead into the first corner, as behind him Hill and BMW’s Colin Turkington challenged for second.
MB Motorsport’s Hill managed to prevail on the outside line to hold the place, despite then cutting the chicane on the exit of the first complex.
Hill applied race-long pressure to Moffat, with the pair being bumper-to-bumper even on the final lap, but in the end the Ford driver was unable to find a way past in his 48 kg-laden car, with the ballast-free Moffat bagging a fourth BTCC win and first in rear-wheel drive machinery.
BTC Racing’s Senna Proctor completed the podium, with the Honda driver having jumped Turkington on the first lap when the Northern Irishman lost momentum whilst trying to pass Hill.
Turkington has slightly closed in on the championship lead with fourth, ahead of the second BTC Racing Honda of Josh Cook in fifth.
Cook started the race from seventh on the grid and gained one place on the opening lap, before diving up the inside of Ciceley Motorsport’s Adam Morgan at Sunny Out on the third lap for fifth, where he remained for the rest of the race.
Championship leader Ash Sutton brought his Infiniti home in sixth, ahead of Excelr8 Motorsport’s Chris Smiley in seventh, the Hyundai driver having made up six places in the race with a strong drive.
Smiley had been involved in a lap three incident at the hairpin when he dived up the inside of Team Dynamics’ Daniel Rowbottom, who in turn was on the inside of MB Motorsport’s Ollie Jackson.
The resulting contact between the trio spun Jackson’s Ford and broke his left-rear suspension, taking him out of the race after he had been running in eighth.
Rowbottom himself would later be taken out on lap four when contact from Árón Taylor-Smith pitched him into the tyre barrier at the Complex, resulting in extensive front-end damage to his Honda.
The top ten was completed by the BMW of Morgan, Daniel Lloyd’s Power Maxed Vauxhall and Team Dynamics’ Gordon Shedden, who came through from 17th on the grid.
Title contender Tom Ingram made up nine places to finish in 12th, just behind Ciceley Motorsport’s Tom Chilton in 11th.
Jason Plato had been running in 14th, but contact on lap 11 dropped him to 17th and out of the points, with damage to his car’s steering thereafter limiting his progress.
Rory Butcher was the leading Toyota driver in 19th, despite starting from the back of the grid after his qualifying dramas.
Race two is scheduled to get underway at 14:35 BST.
|1||16||I||Aiden MOFFAT||Laser Tools Racing||Infiniti Q50||18||27:26.297||1:22.897||1|
|2||24||M||Jake HILL||MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square||Ford Focus ST||18||0.520||1:22.690||2|
|3||18||I||Senna PROCTOR||BTC Racing||Honda Civic Type-R||18||1.888||1:23.050||4|
|4||2||M||Colin TURKINGTON||Team BMW||BMW 330i M Sport||18||2.269||1:22.961||3|
|5||66||I||Josh COOK||BTC Racing||Honda Civic Type-R||18||2.877||1:22.667||7|
|6||1||I||Ashley SUTTON||Laser Tools Racing||Infiniti Q50||18||4.502||1:22.903||8|
|7||22||I||Chris SMILEY||Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com||Hyundai i30 Fastback N||18||5.447||1:23.071||13|
|8||33||I||Adam MORGAN||Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport||BMW 330i M Sport||18||6.728||1:23.232||5|
|9||123||I||Daniel LLOYD||Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing||Vauxhall Astra||18||7.337||1:22.952||14|
|10||52||I||Gordon SHEDDEN||Halfords Racing with Cataclean||Honda Civic Type-R||18||8.043||1:23.009||17|
|11||3||I||Tom CHILTON||Car Gods with Ciceley Motorsport||BMW 330i M Sport||18||8.808||1:22.830||15|
|12||80||I||Tom INGRAM||Ginsters EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com||Hyundai i30 Fastback N||18||9.776||1:23.281||21|
|13||12||M||Stephen JELLEY||Team BMW||BMW 330i M Sport||18||10.064||1:22.890||12|
|14||40||I||Árón TAYLOR-SMITH||Team HARD. with HUB Financial Solutions||CUPRA Leon||18||11.359||1:23.264||22|
|15||41||I||Carl BOARDLEY||Laser Tools Racing||Infiniti Q50||18||11.970||1:23.250||20|
|16||4||M||Sam OSBORNE||Racing with Wera & Photon Group||Ford Focus ST||18||12.649||1:23.365||19|
|17||11||I||Jason PLATO||Adrian Flux with Power Maxed Racing||Vauxhall Astra||18||13.576||1:23.250||10|
|18||31||I||Jack GOFF||Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct||CUPRA Leon||18||14.276||1:23.374||16|
|19||6||M||Rory BUTCHER||Toyota Gazoo Racing UK||Toyota Corolla GR Sport||18||14.941||1:23.242||29|
|20||15||M||Tom OLIPHANT||Team BMW||BMW 330i M Sport||18||15.167||1:22.784||6|
|21||23||M||Sam SMELT||Toyota Gazoo Racing UK||Toyota Corolla GR Sport||18||16.101||1:23.576||18|
|22||19||I||Jack MITCHELL||Team HARD. with Autobrite Direct||CUPRA Leon||18||17.614||1:23.406||24|
|23||96||I||Jack BUTEL||EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com||Hyundai i30 Fastback N||18||23.884||1:23.811||25|
|24||44||M||Andy NEATE||Racing with Wera & Photon Group||Ford Focus ST||18||29.719||1:24.421||26|
|25||28||I||Nicolas HAMILTON||ROKiT Racing with iQuoto Online Trading||CUPRA Leon||18||30.118||1:24.458||28|
|26||42||I||Nick HALSTEAD||EXCELR8 with TradePriceCars.com||Hyundai i30 Fastback N||18||34.270||1:24.769||27|
|27||99||I||Jade EDWARDS||PHSC with BTC Racing||Honda Civic Type-R||17||+ 1 LAP||1:23.233||23|
|R||32||I||Daniel ROWBOTTOM||Halfords Racing with Cataclean||Honda Civic Type-R||3||DNF||1:23.091||9|
|R||48||M||Ollie JACKSON||MB Motorsport accelerated by Blue Square||Ford Focus ST||3||DNF||1:23.411||11|