Gordon Shedden hung on in a thrilling photo finish with Andy Priaulx during a dramatic second Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race at Brands Hatch, Jason Plato ending in the gravel trap having led much of the contest.
Plato made the perfect getaway from pole position to lead the West Surrey Racing BMW pair of Priaulx and the fast-starting race one winner, Rob Collard, the latter moving into second spot ahead of his team-mate.
Shedden’s Yuasa Racing Honda Civic Type-R moved by Priaulx also into third place, Plato making his break at the front of the pack.
Collard, carrying 75kg and running the softer tyre compound for race two, struggled from then on, as he firstly fell behind Shedden at Paddock Hill Bend on lap two before Priaulx’s move on lap four dropped him down towards the lower end of the top 10.
Jack Goff then collected Aron Smith and tagged the BMR Racing Volkswagen CC into a half-spin at Graham Hill Bend in the shuffle, the pair ending ninth and 12th respectively.
Priaulx soon came under pressure for third spot from Colin Turkington but quickly turned his attentions to Shedden’s second place, concluding in a superb climax to race two.
The battle became more crucial when erstwhile leader Plato suddenly found himself beached in the gravel trap after understeering off the road at Paddock Hill, a left-front tyre having deflated under the double BTCC champion.
Priaulx meanwhile had nudged Shedden aside at Clearways, but his move into Paddock Hill was swiftly countered by the Scot who cut back and grabbed the lead again at Druids. Both encountered the Infiniti Q50 of Derek Palmer Jr on the final lap, Priaulx sizing up the chance to dive inside at Clearways and produce a run to the line.
The BMW inched closer to heading the Honda, but it was Shedden who nicked it by just 0.040s for the Honda Civic Type-R’s first win.
Turkington followed the pair home in third, while Adam Morgan finished a solid fourth ahead of Andrew Jordan‘s Triple Eight MG and Tom Ingram‘s Speedworks Toyota Avensis.
Sam Tordoff recovered from 13th to seventh in the next WSR BMW ahead of Matt Neal and the MG of Goff, the top 10 rounded out by Rob Austin who beat his Audi team-mate Hunter Abbott in a race-long duel. Collard’s fall from grace was heavy, the WSR man ending 16th by the flag.
Eurotech Racing endured a rough outing as Martin Depper was removed when he collected the spinning Volkswagen of Warren Scott, while Jeff Smith pulled off a fine save after he was tagged by Mike Bushell at Paddock Hill.
Austin then proceeded to pull out number for the reverse-grid draw, meaning he starts on pole for race three ahead of Goff, Neal and Tordoff.
Race three gets underway at 5:12pm and you can keep up with the action here at www.thecheckeredflag.co.uk, or via Twitter at @tcfBTCC.