The second British Touring Car Championship race at Rockingham saw a very popular winner, as Rob Austin claimed his first BTCC victory.
A great start from third on the grid was the winning move for Austin as he swooped up the inside into the lead, leaving a battle for second behind him as he cruised to a superb win by 3.351s.
The Rush star held off Gordon Shedden in the first half of the 16 lap encounter before pulling away from the Honda driver in the latter stages, finally breaking his BTCC duck to the rounds of cheers from the packed grandstands.
“It’s probably the only time in my life that i’m speechless!” said the delighted winner.
The race was not one to savour for the championship leaders, Andrew Jordan slipping back from pole position to eighth by the time the chequered flag waved, the Pirtek Racing man struggling with the maximum penalty ballast and a set-up for the drier race.
Starting 14th with no ballast, Matt Neal had an even bigger disaster meanwhile. The former championship leader looked set to hit back in the second race after a great opening lap that saw him up to eighth, passing Colin Turkington and Jordan up to sixth place before joining a tight battle for third.
Neal followed Rob Collard past the Speedworks Toyota Avensis of Dave Newsham as the fast-starting latter dropped back from fourth place to eighth by the flag, before Neal and Collard both out-braked themselves into Deene hairpin in the final half of the race.
Both went straight on a ground to a halt, Neal retiring on the spot after parking into the rear bumper of the eBay Motors BMW to continue a dreadful weekend for the triple BTCC champion.
The incident promoted a charging Turkington up to the final podium position, the Irishman passing Mat Jackson‘s Ford Focus for the spot in the dying laps after his Airwaves rival slipped back to fourth having lost second place on lap two at the final chicane.
The charge of the race came from Sam Tordoff who came from 16th up to fifth with an MG6 handling much better in this race. His KX Momentum Racing team-mate Jason Plato was next up, demoting Newsham to eighth with greater traction coming into Chapman Curve.
Ninth was the reward for Tom Onslow-Cole who surged up from the back of the field after being involved in the race one accident, Jeff Smith rounding out the top 10 behind the Airwaves man.
Frank Wrathall and Nick Foster both had offs at Deene hairpin during difficult races, Foster almost taking his team-mate Turkington with him at the turn one scuffling.
The Jack Sears Trophy edged closer to the grasp of Lea Wood, the Central Racing Vauxhall Vectra man again taking the S2000 class while Liam Griffin suffered problems once again after a big fight with Andy Wilmot.
The top eight will be reversed for race three, meaning that Jordan will be promoted back to pole position for the day’s final race.
– Race three will take place at 16:50, and you can follow all the action with thecheckeredflag.co.uk and on Twitter with @tcfBTCC.