Aron Smith took a popular first win for BMR Racing in a damp final British Touring Car Championship race at Oulton Park, leading from lights-to-flag after converting a reverse-grid pole.
A heavy downpour saturated the Cheshire circuit for the third race of the day, Smith hanging on at the front of the field to claim the first win for both BMR and their Volkswagen Passat in BTCC.
The Irishman lead the race throughout after converting his pole position with a solid start in the slippery conditions, leading Mat Jackson and a fast-starting Rob Collard in the WSR BMW 125i who jumped up from sixth to third.
Front row starter Tom Ingram was not so lucky, one of several drivers to hit first-lap dramas as Jack Goff and Hunter Abbott both spun off at Old Hall, Matt Neal also crashing out to end a miserable weekend for the Honda Yuasa Racing driver.
Jackson soon eliminated himself from the lead battle with a huge sideways moment heading into Cascades following a safety car period, dropping to 14th place and promoting Collard to second. The latter then handed second place to Gordon Shedden‘s Honda, skittering across the grass at the Knickerbrook chicane after out-braking himself.
Jason Plato watched behind the top three with Colin Turkington – winner of the day’s opening two races – in close company. Plato then chased after Collard, the fight ending in tears on lap six as Plato’s MG nosed inside at Lodge and tapped the BMW into a spin.
Turkington took advantage but came under attack from Plato in the closing laps of the race, the battle for the final podium position eventually going the way of Plato when the MG made its move after a nudge heading into the hairpin.
Smith held his cool at the front and duly converted his pole position into a second BTCC victory of his career ahead of Shedden, Plato, Turkington and Rob Austin – the Audi driver enjoying a strong weekend with three top-five finishes to his name on Sunday.
The race stewards however took action over Plato’s move on Turkington afterwards, swapping the pair meaning the latter took away three top-three finishes from Cheshire.
Sam Tordoff was next up in the second Triple Eight MG, ahead of Smith’s team-mate Alain Menu and former championship leader, Andrew Jordan.
Jackson recovered to ninth, his Motorbase team-mate Fabrizio Giovanardi rounding out the top 10 ahead of Collard in a weekend that saw team boss David Bartrum celebrate 250 races for the Kent squad.
Turkington leads the standings after a stellar weekend, nine points clear of Shedden with Jordan a further 18 points back heading to Croft on 28/29 June.