Tom Ingram converted his maiden pole position into a first Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race victory in the season-opening encounter at Brands Hatch.
The opening laps of the new season were filled with drama aplenty, not so for the Speedworks Motorsport man who romped away after a perfect start to lead the Halfords Yuasa Racing Civic Type-Rs of Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal in the opening laps.
Behind, Mark Howard suffered the first spin of the season for Team BKR, before Mat Jackson survived both a lurid moment at Paddock Hill Bend and a near altercation with the pit wall a lap later.
West Surrey Racing had a moment to forget on the second lap meanwhile as Sam Tordoff was tapped into a spin at Surtees, the tag coming from none other than his own BMW team-mate, Rob Collard.
A safety car was then called for a big shunt between Alex Martin and Hunter Abbott, Ingram forced briefly to defend from Shedden before the intervention.
Try as he might, Shedden could not usurp the flying Avensis of Ingram, as the former triple Ginetta champion claimed his first BTCC race victory ahead of Shedden and Neal’s Halfords Hondas.
Ashley Sutton put in a sterling rookie performance to finish best of the rest in fourth, ahead of his Triple Eight Racing MG team-mate, Josh Cook.
The latter took advantage of a moment for Jack Goff at Paddock Hill Bend on lap 15 to sneak inside the WSR BMW 125i, rounding out the top five ahead of a fierce battle for sixth that was won by Collard, who rounded both Goff and the BKR Volkswagen CC of Aron Smith at Druids.
Smith finished a strong seventh ahead of the recovering Motorbase Ford of Jackson, Goff slipping to 10th behind Adam Morgan‘s Mercedes which had earlier been shuffled back by a tap from Cook’s MG at Clearways.
Jason Plato was Subaru and Team BMR‘s best finisher, albeit back in 21st spot behind Team HARD rookie, Michael Epps. Colin Turkington suffered an incident on the opening lap meanwhile that forced him to pit later in the race, Warren Scott failing to start due to a prop shaft issue.
Race two of the day gets underway at 14:12, and you can keep up with all the action right here and via @TheCheckerFlag on Twitter.