Dave Newsham took his first ever British Touring Car win with victory in the final race of the day at Snetterton.
Behind him Tom Onslow-Cole took another podium for eBay Motors BMW, with Gordon Shedden third on the road – but the Scot was later excluded for exceeding boost limits in his Honda Civic.
He had taken over the lead in the championship standings but now it is his teammate Matt Neal, who ended the first lap at the rear of the field, who heads the title fight.
The ES Racing Vauxhall was leapfrogged by Tom Onslow-Cole at the start, but retook the place quickly, as Lea Wood led the reversed grid away from pole position.
Robb Holland suffered a first lap spin but when Frank Wrathall moved past Neal under braking for Agostini, the defending champion ran wide trying to fight back and the two dropped back – Wrathall to ninth, Neal to the tail-end of the field.
Mat Jackson in the brand new NGTC Ford Focus ST took third from Onslow-Cole, and Shedden was next to pass the BMW, slipping through at Agostini, as Newsham began to pressure Wood for the lead.
The two Vauxhalls were almost side-by-side going into Riches and the yellow and black machine cut back and outbraked the Binz car into Montreal.
Behind them, a five-car train began battling for third, Jackson under pressure from Onslow-Cole, Shedden, race two winner Andrew Jordan and Jason Plato, the latter two switching places soon after.
Newsham’s lead over the chasing NGTC cars stood at 3.5s, while further down the field Tony Gilham and Dan Welch came together at Riches fighting for 12th, and the Proton was spat off, but kept it pointing the right way, while Gilham would retire with damage to front of the Insignia.
Onslow-Cole, who had fought his way back past Shedden, began to attack Jackson, pulling to the outside at Riches, with the Honda behind keeping a watching brief and carrying a lot of success ballast.
Then Jackson ran wide at the Bomb Hole, dropping the sixth, letting Onslow-Cole, Shedden and Plato through, and the BMW slowly eked out about one-second advantage over the chasing Civic.
Behind them, Rob Austin and Rob Collard, a new engine fitted in his BMW, went shoulder-to-shoulder, before Neal muscled ahead of the Audi, his recovery driving taking him back up to 10th – which soon became ninth when Wood retired with gearbox problems.
With space now all that was between Newsham and the chasing group, fears that he would come under pressure were never realised – both the Vauxhall and the BMW keeping a safe distance between themselves and their pursuers.
Newsham had written his chances of snatching a maiden series win off not long ago but he crossed the line first, to huge cheers from his team, heading an S2000 one-two to dispel any concerns that the NGTC machines would be unbeatable in the second-half of the season. Behind them, Plato was elevated to third while Jackson took fourth in the new Ford.
The popular race winner told theCheckeredFlag.co.uk: “It was a case of getting clear and then managing the gap.
“I’m not saying I could have gone any faster – but I think I drove a pretty good race.”