Jason Plato got the better of British Touring Car Championship leader Colin Turkington in a tense second race of the day at Snetterton, as the two champions staged a fight of their own in the 15-lap encounter.
Plato made it three wins in 2014 to back up his race one success in Norfolk, but he had to work for it after Turkington’s West Surrey Racing BMW 125i got the jump on the Triple Eight MG driver heading into Riches for the first time of asking.
Behind the top three there was already incident, as Alain Menu‘s race came to an abrupt end at Riches, slight contact with the WIX Racing Mercedes A-Class of Adam Morgan sending the Volkswagen into a lurid slide that ended in a trip to the barriers.
The safety car was deployed to remove the battered CC, after which there was further drama as reigning champion Andrew Jordan was tagged into a spin down the order at the Complex, as Rob Collard and Jack Goff jostled for position with the Pirtek Racing man.
Plato began to up the pressure on the leading BMW of Turkington over the next five laps, and finally made the decisive move stick up the inside of the Northern Irishman under braking for Montreal on lap nine.
A break was expected to be made by the MG driver, but the race soon came back to life as Turkington’s BMW saved its tyres better than the new leader in the closing stages of the race.
Turkington remained locked to the rear of Plato until the penultimate lap, but could not find a way to deny the double champion his third win of the season by just over a second.
“[Plato] made a good move”, Turkington told The Checkered Flag afterwards, “If there was a chance to get back at him then I was always going to go for it!”
Behind the top two, Gordon Shedden slotted by his Honda Yuasa Racing team-mate Matt Neal for third place to limit the damage to his championship chase of Turkington, while Adam Morgan gave WIX Racing another top-five finish in the Mercedes A-Class.
The pair of Motorbase Performance Ford Focus ST machines were next up, Mat Jackson leading his team-mate Fabrizio Giovanardi. The result for Giovanardi continues his charging Sunday performance, having started race one from the rear of the field.
Aron Smith was eighth, while Sam Tordoff put together one of the drives of the race as he started from 31st and last on the grid, but came through the carnage to finish ninth ahead of Marc Hynes who collected his best result of the season for the Triple Eight MG squad.
Jordan could only recover to 15th for a solitary point, but the more pressing news after the race is that the defending champion will not contest the day’s final race in Norfolk. Further to his practice shunt, BTCC medics confirmed that Jordan will be absent as a precaution from the final race.
Collard was also involved in a tangle that left him spinning off at Murrays, while Jack Clarke and Warren Scott were spinners at Montreal. Glynn Geddie also found himself facing the wrong way, after Dave Newsham collected the United Autosports Toyota Avensis at Riches.
Race three will see the top eight finishers reversed, meaning Smith starts on pole position ahead of Giovanardi.
The reverse grid race gets underway at 16:57, and you can follow all the action from Snetterton with The Checkered Flag and on Twitter via @tcfBTCC.