Jamie Caroline secured his sixth win in the last seven Ginetta Junior Championship races with victory in the opening race at Knockhill, surviving a two lap sprint to the flag after a late safety car period.
In an action-packed encounter around the tight Scottish circuit, Caroline had to contend with a pair of safety car interludes as he converted his maiden Ginetta pole position into victory.
A fantastic start to the race had seen Caroline gap the field by over a second by the end of the first lap, however he was met by the safety car after championship rival Billy Monger suffered a broken driveshaft at the start.
At the restart, Caroline led away once again from another of the title protagonists in Senna Proctor, while Matt Chapman got the jump on Lewis Brown to take third place.
Chapman’s run in the podium positions didn’t last long though, a half spin at Scotsman on lap five dropping him to seventh behind Brown, Devlin DeFrancesco, Dan Zelos and Jonathan Hadfield.
A trip through the gravel on the back straight next time around moved DeFrancesco out of the podium contention, with Brown’s main challenge then coming from Zelos and Hadfield.
Their battle eventually went down to the wire after contact in a fierce battle for eleventh place – which had seen eight cars split by less than two seconds at one point – ended with Charlie Fagg in the hairpin gravel trap.
That wiped out Caroline’s three second lead at the head of the field, but the HHC Motorsport man dealt with the restart perfectly and rebuilt that same advantage again in just two laps en-route to the chequered flag.
He was helped by Proctor having to defend hard for second behind, the JHR Developments man finishing just a quarter of a second ahead of Brown – who took his second podium finish of the campaign in third.
Zelos secured fourth, while fifth place marked a return to form for Hadfield, with it being his best result since Donington Park in April. Chapman meanwhile secured a breakthrough Junior top six finish behind.
Ben Green emerged from a hard-fought battle with a maiden Rookie Cup victory in seventh ahead of the recovering DeFrancesco, both taking their best overall finishes of the season so far, while Cameron Roberts completed the class podium.
Kyle Hornby climbed from seventeenth on the grid to complete the top ten ahead of Will Tregurtha, while Connor Grady and Frank Bird both secured the best results of their Junior careers in twelfth and thirteenth respectively.
Patrik Matthiesen was left to settle for fourteenth after being spun out of a top ten finish at the hairpin on the final lap, with Dave Wooder, Sebastian Perez and Geri Nicosia completing the finishers.
Alongside Fagg and Monger, Rowan Bailey was also on the retirements list after pulling off the circuit on the second lap, while Stuart Middleton failed to make the start of the race having qualified second.
*Update: Post-race Ben Green was found at fault for the final corner incident with Patrik Matthiesen, and was handed a 5.3 second penalty to put him behind Matthiesen to fourteenth in the classified results, giving DeFrancesco a maiden Rookie Cup win.
Full race results can be found here.