A sublime start from Andrew Jordan put him on course for an important win in race one at Rockingham, the Pirtek Racing man taking the BTCC championship lead for the first time in 2013.
In wet conditions, the reigning Independent champion made the perfect start to weave around the outside of the KX Momentum Racing MGs into the first corner, grabbing the lead with a bold move at Deene having started fourth.
Jordan continued to lead the race comfortably for the remainder of the 19-lapper on his way to eventually claiming a 3.3s victory, moving into a 13-point lead of the championship thanks to a blunder by former leader Matt Neal.
“It was very slippy and as the track got drier I had to protect the tyres because they started to go off towards the end”, said Jordan afterwards. “It’s a first ever wet race win as well.
“It was a spot-on start and I thought ‘I’m going for it’. I thought I had more grip than Jason and i pulled it off.”
The race was under safety car conditions for much of its early phase following a big pile-up at Gracelands on lap one, a spinning Will Bratt being collected by Adam Morgan’s Ciceley Racing Toyota, while a separate incident eliminated Dan Welch, Andy Neate and Tom Onslow-Cole in avoidance.
Neal – running in the top five at the time – was then left red-faced when he spun at the chicane just as the race was about to resume, the Honda man finishing 14th by its conclusion with a recovery drive into the points.
The stars of the race joined Jordan on the podium, Mat Jackson charging up from 12th to second place while Rob Austin recovered to the podium by eventually stealing third from Gordon Shedden on the run to the line.
Jackson watched an intense battle for second on the restart be won by Shedden at Tarzan as the Scot went around the outside of Jason Plato, Jackson then dispatching the pole-sitter at Deene on lap 10 before catching and passing Shedden at the same bend on lap 14 when Shedden out-braked himself.
Austin charged from ninth to fifth, before easing Plato aside at the chicane and then out-dragging Shedden for third on the run to the line in a dramatic finish.
Fifth went to Plato ahead of Colin Turkington who charged up to sixth ahead of eBay Motors team-mate Rob Collard, Dave Newsham dropping to eighth having run fourth but beating the impressive Jack Goff and Frank Wrathall – the latter having started 19th.
Aside from Neal, the other big loser proved to be Sam Tordoff, the MG man dropping from the front row down to 16th place by the finish.
Jeff Smith also dropped back after an off on lap one at Chapman Curve, finishing 12th by the flag, while Andy Wilmot‘s debut netted him 18th place.
The S2000 class started with drama and ended with an added splice of it, Liam Griffin retiring at the end of the warm-up lap while Lea Wood pitted for slick tyres.
Wood then put on a crowd-pleasing show as he began to close on long-time leader David Nye, stealing the win with a move at Pif Paf on the Welch Ford driver on the very last lap.
– Race two gets underway at 14:02, and you can follow all the action with thecheckeredflag.co.uk and on Twitter with @tcfBTCC.