Andrew Jordan continued from where he left off in 2013 by claiming a lights-to-flag victory in the opening race of the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race at Brands Hatch.
The reigning champion made the perfect getaway to box out the fast-starting BMW of Colin Turkington from third on the grid, and held on grimly under further pressure from fellow front-row starter Jason Plato as the duo went side-by-side through Paddock Hill Bend.
Pirtek Racing‘s Jordan hung onto the advantage and would never be headed throughout the remainder of the 24-lap encounter, surviving late pressure as the lead pair negotiated lapped traffic to beat MG KX Clubcard Fuel Save BTCC Team driver Plato to the flag by 0.536s.
WSR‘s Turkington was also mugged of third spot by the Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Tourer of Matt Neal at Clearways on lap one, after which the Northern Irishman became embroiled in a dice with both Neal and the second Yuasa Honda of Gordon Shedden over the spot.
Shedden eventually caught Turkington running slightly deep at the final corner in the closing laps, and took the place amid slight contact heading down the main straight with the BMW to snatch fourth, following Neal to the flag as the new Tourer finished in third and fourth place in their first encounter.
Behind them, Rob Austin surged through the field to an eventual fifth for the Exocet Racing Audi squad, passing a struggling Turkington at Druids who fell to eighth by the flag after being overtaken by team-mate Rob Collard in a close tussle between the WSR BMW team-mates.
Aron Smith finished seventh having survived a tangle at Clearways with Mat Jackson‘s Motorbase Ford Focus that sent the latter wide and down to 15th, behind returning team-mate Fabrizio Giovanardi.
Tom Ingram finished a very solid ninth place on his maiden BTCC race for Speedworks, ahead of the second MG of Sam Tordoff who rounded out the top 10.
Alain Menu‘s first race back since Thruxton 2007 did not go to plan however, spinning the BMR Racing Volkswagen CC on the first lap at Paddock Hill Bend.
Marc Hynes and Lea Wood both started from the pit lane, Hynes in fact not making the race with mechanical troubles while Wood returned to complete his first encounter with an NGTC Toyota Avensis. Martin Depper had a more adventurous race in the second Pirtek Racing Honda Civic, an incident at Druids with James Cole (United Autosports) ultimately damaging both their races.