Jason Plato took victory in an enthralling second Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race at Brands Hatch GP circuit, where as many as four drivers held the lead at some point.
Plato made a sluggish start from pole unlike the West Surrey Racing BMW 125i of Colin Turkington, the newly-crowned 2014 champion having slotted through the pair of Triple Eight MGs to lead ahead of Plato and Mat Jackson as the latter squeezed his Airwaves Racing Ford Focus in between the pair.
The race lasted a mere single corner for Alain Menu who spun his BMR Racing Volkswagen CC into the Paddock Hill Bend barriers on the inside, creating a safety car which induced further havoc.
Turkington lead Plato around the opening lap unscathed, but was victim of an overtaking attempt by the MG man into Paddock Hill as the MG climbed over the grass in a closing gap, contact spinning Turkington off into the tyre barriers and into retirement as they fought for room.
The lead was swiftly inherited by Jackson, then almost as quickly thrown away moments later as he ran wide exiting Hawthorns on lap four, clattering into the barriers although he re-joined at the back of the field.
Plato slowed to avoid the out-of-control Jackson which let Rob Collard snatch the initiative in time for another safety car interruption, amazingly heading the pack having began the day 23rd in a rebuilt car following his frightening Silverstone shunt.
Adam Morgan was one of the stars of the race however, charging inside Sam Tordoff at Druids before disposing of Plato’s MG on lap 14, Collard having held on under intense pressure from the rapid Triple Eight machine.
Collard’s defence lasted just one more lap, as Morgan’s Mercedes A-Class found better grip than the WSR BMW’s softer rubber exiting the final corner to snatch the lead, Collard mugged as Plato followed him through and almost brought Tordoff with him at Druids.
Morgan’s joy soon turned to disappointment also, as he threw away the top spot by running wide at Dingle Dell and gifted Plato the lead back for the first time since the lights went out.
Plato held on for a seventh win of the season and second of the day, 2.2s clear of Morgan who still earned a first podium for Mercedes in 2014 while Tordoff joined the podium in third.
Collard and Andrew Jordan raced for the line in fourth, the former taking the spot by just the mere 0.014s. Sixth meanwhile was a best BTCC result for Tom Ingram of 2014, while a sensational drive from Gordon Shedden in a repaired Honda Yuasa Racing Civic Tourer saw him net seventh place by just 0.007s.
Aron Smith and BMR Racing team-mate Jack Goff were next up ahead of 10th-placed Nick Foster, Goff having started 27th after his involvement in the race one shunt at Paddock Hill Bend.
Jackson recovered to 12th ahead of Aiden Moffat and behind Jack Clarke, while Giovanardi fell to 19th after contact with Ingram that sent the Ford spinning at Dingle Dell, amazingly not hit by anybody in the middle of the road.
Foster will provisionally be on pole position for the final race of the season, the top 10 reversed from race two.