Matt Neal won a dramatic first British Touring Car Championship (BTCC) race of the day at Thruxton as long-time leader Andrew Jordan suffered a puncture on the final lap of the race.
It was an action packed start to the race, with Andrew Jordan not making a great start, allowing Gordon Shedden to emerge ahead as the pack entered the complex for the first time. However, the reigning champion’s time at the front was short lived, as a tap from Jason Plato as they left the complex left Shedden in the barrier.
From then on, it was fairly static at the front, with Jordan leading Neal and Plato, whilst the best action of the race was found in the mid-pack. Frank Wrathall, Adam Morgan, Rob Collard, Jack Goff and the two Airwaves Fords of Mat Jackson and Aron Smith were all fighting it out, with Jackson being the real man on the move.
The same could not be said for Wrathall, who was visibly struggling around the fast corners in his Toyota as he dropped from ninth to fifteenth in the space of just a couple of laps.
There was action in the Jack Sears trophy too, with James Kaye being forced out with a mechanical problem, with Joe Girling also suffering a wild off track moment as he duelled for the lead of the class. Warren Scott was also in problems and would be forced out of the race with suspension failure.
Back towards the front, and things were tightening up for the final podium place. Tom Onslow-Cole was on the move, and after earlier passing Tordoff, was right on the back of Plato, showing his nose several times, but failing to make an overtake on the MG driver.
Meanwhile, Turkington, Jackson, Newsham, Smith and Morgan continued their battle for seventh place.
Thruxton continues to be hard on tyres this weekend, with Jordan suffering a puncture on the final lap whilst looking on for a certain victory. Matt Neal was therefore able to capitalise and took his 50th career BTCC win, whilst Plato hung on to take second, with Tom Onslow-Cole giving the new VW Passat its first podium in third.
Andrew Jordan ultimately limped across the line in eleventh place.
Meanwhile Liam Griffin took the Jack Sears trophy in his Motorbase run Ford Focus.