Mat Jackson took his first win of the season in the seventh race of Motorbase Performance‘s Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship return, leading from lights to flag at Rockingham in race one.
The Ford Focus driver, fresh from taking the team’s first qualifying pole position in BTCC, made a great getaway when the lights went out and would not be troubled for the rest of Sunday’s first 16-lapper.
The biggest mover of the race among the front-runners however was Gordon Shedden, the Honda Yuasa Racing man enjoying a strong start from seventh to move ahead of Jason Plato and the slow-starting Tom Ingram.
Dispatching his team-mate Matt Neal swiftly, Shedden then moved ahead of Jack Goff‘s Triple Eight MG at Tarzan and then made similarly light work of the Team BMR Volkswagen of Aron Smith to advance to second spot.
Another Team BMR Volkswagen CC was in trouble meanwhile as early as lap one, Plato’s car suffering rear suspension damage that left him crabbing back to the pits for repairs.
The championship leader did rejoin after BMR’s fine repair job, but his series lead disappeared as a result at the hands of Shedden, who will start from pole for race two with a new race lap record despite being unable to close in on race winner Jackson.
Joining the Ford and Honda drivers on the podium was Volkswagen’s Smith, who held off the attentions of Snetterton winner Goff while Neal was denied fifth spot on the final lap by a late puncture on his right front.
Ingram came out on top in a great battle with the improving Josh Cook to finish fifth, the Speedworks driver switching back exiting Yentwood to grab the spot from the Chevrolet driver who slipped to 13th with the softer tyres on his Cruze.
MG’s Andrew Jordan inherited sixth place ahead of Colin Turkington (Volkswagen), Neal falling to eighth with his last drama to salvage crucial points while Adam Morgan (Mercedes) and Sam Tordoff completed the top 10.
Rob Collard spun out of a top 10th place at Gracelands for West Surrey Racing, while Aiden Moffat‘s Mercedes ended beached in the Tarzan gravel trap. Kieran Gallagher was another in trouble after colliding with Alex Martin, spearing into the barriers exiting Deene.
Race two gets underway at 13:52, and you can keep up with the action here at www.thecheckeredflag.co.uk, or via Twitter at @tcfBTCC.