David Pittard fought off a spirited Jake Giddings to narrowly win the opening Protyre Ginetta GT5 Challenge race at Snetterton by a slender 0.079s.
Mark Davies held onto his pole position from the quick-starting Pittard as the pack swarmed into turn one, before front row starter Will Burns lost control of his Academy Motorsport car heading through Riches, the spinning G40 being collected by Tor McIlroy and the fast-starting G20 machine of Gary Simms who briefly headed into the corner a superb fifth.
Davies and Pittard then continued from where they left off in qualifying by engrossing themselves in their own scrap for the lead, Davies fending off the SV21 driver at Riches by holding the inside line while behind them, Jake Giddings moved up to fourth place having come through the field from 10th place on the grid.
Clio Cup UK driver Giddings then became the fastest driver on the 300 circuit as he chased after third-placed Brad Bailey, his pressure paying off on lap five as he cut back inside Bailey going through Riches to move into a podium position.
Giddings then set after the two leaders and made it a nose-to-nose fight for the lead between the trio on lap seven. The three cars came into Agostini absolutely together on lap six, where they emerged in a completely different order as Pittard squeezed inside Davies, the GT Supercup racer dropping behind Giddings also to third.
Further back, Oli Basey-Fisher and Luke Davenport were already recovering well from their lowly 14th and 15th place starting spots, Basey-Fisher overtaking Clive Richards for fifth place before joining the battle for the lead behind Bailey in the-now five-car dice.
Giddings kept the pressure up of Pittard at the front as the top three headed through Riches almost three abreast, Bailey then moving into third place at Agostini hairpin past Davies before an off saw Davies drop down the field to ninth place, the Optimum Motorsport car continuing with cosmetic rear bumper damage after Basey-Fisher clipped the spinning car.
The demise of the former champion from the battle left Bailey in a safe third behind the lead battle, Giddings trying everything to usurp Pittard from the top spot. Heading out of the final corner on the last lap, Giddings got a great exit as the pair raced to the line, but Pittard just passed the flag first to take a second win of the season by a mere 0.079s from the Total Control Racing driver, Bailey rounding out the podium ahead of the recovering Basey-Fisher and Davenport.
Callum Pointon finished sixth ahead of Gary Duckman and the unfortunate Davies, Ben Hyland slipping to ninth place ahead of Thiago Calvet in the tight battle further down the top 10 after Richards spun through the mud exiting Hamilton corner.
The misfortune for Simms at the first corner of the race meant that the G20 class win went to Stuart Pearson for the eighth time this season, Brian Murphy and Nick Zapolski joining him on the class podium.