Colin Turkington claimed the opening spoils in the first of the day’s three British Touring Car Championship races at Knockhill, while Gordon Shedden closed the gap to the championship leaders.
The Irishman had to hold station in the opening three laps of the race thanks to a demon start from pole-sitter Rob Austin, but the eBay Motors man made a superb move to take the lead from the Audi driver before going on to claim a comfortable win.
Holding the lead following his maiden pole position, Austin found himself under big pressure from both Turkington and Shedden in the opening laps, the trio staging a great battle on lap four.
The WIX Racing Audi got a poor exit from Clark Curve which saw the top three running three abreast into the hairpin, Turkington diving to the inside a taking the lead under braking while Austin found himself under big pressure from Shedden.
The Honda man then made a bold move stick under braking for Clark Curve shortly afterwards, a place where Matt Neal almost made a move stick on Jason Plato, the pair making contact as Plato just about held onto the sideways moment that followed.
Adam Morgan was soon the man on the move, taking the place from Neal exiting Clark with a much better exit than the Honda man to snatch fifth, after which the safety car was soon out for a hefty shunt for Paul O’Neill, wiping out a three-second lead for Turkington.
The Team HARD Vauxhall Insignia was pushed out of the final hairpin by Nick Foster, after which O’Neill’s damaged car snapped to the left and into the tyre barriers where it briefly caught fire, O’Neill emerging from the crash unscathed.
The restart saw Turkington control the situation from start to the chequered flag as he claimed his fourth win of the season, leaving a battle for second raging behind him.
Morgan soon made his way by Plato with a helpful nudge into the rear bumper of the KX Momentum Racing MG6 heading into the hairpin, before closing in on the fight between Shedden and a feisty Austin, the Audi man looking every which way down the main straight each lap for a way by the Honda.
Shedden stood firm however and held onto the place ahead of Austin and Morgan, closing the points gap to just 15 behind his team-mate Neal, Plato rounding out the top five ahead of a charging Rob Collard on soft tyres in another eBay Motors BMW.
Collard passed Andrew Jordan exiting the hairpin on lap 21 of 27 after several unsuccessful attempts, before catching and passing Neal for sixth as the championship leader held off main rival Jordan for seventh.
Ninth went to Sam Tordoff with the top 10 rounded out by Aron Smith, the Jack Sears Trophy honours this time going to Liam Griffin who held the class lead from start to finish ahead of Lea Wood.
Mike Bushell‘s maiden race was ruined by grass in the Club 44 Chevrolet Cruze’s radiator forcing him to pit, something that also hindered Kieran Gallagher‘s debut, while Will Bratt also had to pit for a puncture.
– Race two is expected to get underway at 14:15pm, and you can follow all the happenings from Knockhill on thecheckeredflag.co.uk, and on Twitter through tcfBTCC.