Jason Plato claimed his first victory of 2015 for BMR Racing in the opening Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race of the day at Donington Park.
Pole-sitter Tukington held his advantage when the lights went out despite an unhelpful tap from team-mate Plato heading into Redgate for the first time, the latter moving ahead of Gordon Shedden‘s Honda Civic Type-R after a duel through Craner Curves.
The lead was soon Plato’s as a tighter line heading down the back straight allowed him to snatch the top spot away, a lead the double champion would never surrender.
A well-timed lunge inside Turkington at Old Hairpin promoted Shedden to second on lap two, the pair soon locked together in their own scrap for second spot behind Plato who claimed his first victory for BMR – and his 89th in BTCC – by 1.4s
Turkington slithered up the inside of Shedden at Redgate on lap eight to grab second spot, but the Honda man neatly cut back underneath the reigning champion’s Volkswagen CC to confirm his runner-up position.
Andrew Jordan made up a place on lap one to come home a somewhat lonely fourth spot for Triple Eight Racing, Sam Tordoff improving two spots for West Surrey Racing ahead the impressive Dave Newsham (Power Maxed Racing) and the second MG of Jack Goff.
Tordoff’s WSR team-mate Rob Collard, winner of the opening race of the 2015 season at Brands Hatch, started a lowly 19th on the grid but picked his way through the pack, taking advantage of a duel between Goff and Adam Morgan. The BMW 125i slipped inside both the MG and Mercedes as they clashed through Coppice, but Goff stole seventh by 0.035s exiting the final corner.
Morgan settled for ninth, hindered by a wide moment that cost him badly at McLeans on lap three, while Rob Austin‘s Audi A4 rounded out the top 10.
Andy Priaulx climbed from 23rd up to 12th for BMW, while Matt Neal fell like a proverbial stone in the second Type-R from fifth to 17th on the softer tyre.
Mike Bushell suffered driveshaft problems while Simon Belcher spun into the gravel at McLeans, Aron Smith‘s BMR Volkswagen failing to make it out at all with what was reportedly a brake problem.
Based on fastest laps from race one, Shedden will start on pole position for race two, ahead of Turkington, Morgan, Plato and Jordan.
Race two gets underway at 2:27pm and you can keep up with the action here at www.thecheckeredflag.co.uk, or via Twitter at @tcfBTCC.