Rob Collard added a third win of the 2015 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season in a feisty first encounter at Knockhill.
A superb opening lap for Mat Jackson saw the Motorbase Performance Ford Focus ST move from third on the grid up to second past the slow-starting Sam Tordoff, before quickly dispatching pole-sitter Priaulx from the lead at the hairpin as the opening lap concluded.
Jackson pumped in a sequence of early flyers to escape at the front, although his lead was soon negated by a one-lap safety car interruption to move a tyre stack from the chicane.
The Ford’s softer tyres soon began to suffer however and the 2008 runner-up found himself on the defensive from the BMWs of Priaulx and Collard, lap 20 seeing him squeeze Priaulx onto the grass at the hairpin a lap before Collard pounced exiting the same bend.
Collard pulled clear and claimed a fifth Knockhill win of his BTCC career by 1.720s, while behind them Jackson fended off Priaulx for his first podium for himself and Motorbase, despite the latter’s best efforts.
Behind them, Tordoff was the man who suffered on the harder tyre compound compared to his rivals initially, dropping behind Gordon Shedden‘s Honda Civic at Clark on lap three followed swiftly by Rob Austin and Matt Neal.
The tyres soon came back to Tordoff in the latter half of the 25-lapper in Fife, passing Neal’s Honda before pouncing on both Austin and Shedden in two corners as he rounded the latter at the hairpin on the outside for fourth.
Behind Shedden, Neal and Austin, Andrew Jordan was an untroubled eighth for MG, the top 10 rounded out by Adam Morgan and Colin Turkington.
A fantastic battle for Jack Sears Trophy honours went to a photo finish, Mike Bushell again victorious ahead of Power Maxed Racing‘s Josh Cook by just 0.008s.
Despite rumours of repeating his Croft tactic, championship leader Jason Plato made the decision not to start from the pit lane, instead opting to back off from 22nd and set a flying lap in clear air to aid his position on the grid for race two. He finished 23rd, still 10 points clear in the standings of Turkington.
Jack Goff meanwhile will start race two from the back of the field, an incident with Aiden Moffat heading into the chicane being his third strike of the season, after incidents with Aron Smith at Brands Hatch and Hunter Abbott in practice at Donington.
Race two gets underway at 14:15, and you can keep up with the action here at www.thecheckeredflag.co.uk, or via Twitter at @tcfBTCC.