Tom Gamble was crowned the winner of a sensational opening Ginetta Junior Championship race at Thruxton following a late track limits penalty for on-the-road victor Daniel Harper.
Both Gamble and Harper were in the thick of a fierce battle for the race win throughout the twelve lap encounter, with the Hampshire circuit producing stunning slipstreaming racing once again.
It was Sebastian Priaulx who started the race from pole position and he held off an initial challenge from Gamble through the Complex, before his team-mate got ahead going through Church.
Harper swiftly made it an early three car battle for the lead, and seized second position from Priaulx going through the final chicane on the second lap.
Behind meanwhile, there was drama as Jordan Collard lost control at Church and got collected by another spinner in Finley Green, however with both out of harms way there was no safety car.
On lap three there was suddenly a new race leader as a wide moment for Gamble at Church and a loss of momentum for Priaulx and Harper allowed both Harry King and Harry Dyson to storm past.
Dyson’s spell in the top two was short lived as Priaulx and Harper dispatched him at the complex next time around, while King’s race lead would ultimately last two laps.
Some Nascar style bump drafting from Priaulx and Harper would get them past the leader on the run up Woodham Hill for the fifth time, before Harper took the lead at Noble on the next tour.
That would ultimately be the final change of lead though, with the Douglas Motorsport ace soaking up loads of pressure from behind and staying in front over the second half of the race.
Priaulx, King, Dyson and a recovering Gamble would continue to hound the leader whilst they swapped the final podium positions between themselves heading into the closing stages.
On the final lap, a robust move from Gamble would shuffle Priaulx down from second to fifth at the complex, opening the door for the championship leader to take the flag in second.
Dyson meanwhile just fended off King and Priaulx to pick up third on the road, however that would become second when Harper was handed a five second track limits penalty.
Gamble was therefore promoted to a third win of the season so far ahead of Dyson and King, with Harper demoted to fourth ahead of Priaulx, who also got a time penalty.
Behind the lead battle there was tremendous action throughout the field, with Adam Smalley and Tom Canning emerging in sixth and seventh to complete the Rookie podium behind Dyson.
Connor Grady, Charlie Digby and Greg Johnson completed the top ten, the latter two gaining a place as Matt Luff became the third driver to be deemed to have exceeded track limits.
Full race results can be found here: http://tsl-timing.com/file/?f=TOCA/2017/171803gij.pdf