James Dorlin proved to be the class of the field during the opening round of the 2016 Michelin Clio Cup Series, converting pole position into a ten second victory around the Oulton Park Island circuit.
The Westbourne Motorsport ace led the way in qualifying by half a second, and that dominance would continue in the race as a quick start saw him lead by two seconds by the end of the opening lap.
From there Dorlin could not be caught as he reeled off a number of new fastest laps during the twelve lap encounter, eventually taking the chequered flag 10.785 seconds clear of the field for his first win in the championship.
Running in second place throughout was Brett Lidsey. Whilst unable to match the leaders pace, the MRM ace was quickly able to break clear of the pack behind for a relatively lonely race to the finish.
Tom Barley had lined up third on the grid, but on a busy opening lap the ex-BTCC racer slipped to sixth, with Sam Randon slotting into the final podium position ahead of Dan Kirby and Luke Pinder.
As Randon went on to remain in third for the rest of the race to finish on the podium, there was a shuffle in the pack behind on lap five as Kirby and Pinder dropped to the bottom of the top eight.
While Barley went on to take a career-best Clio Series finish in fourth, a storming fightback from reigning Road Series champion Pinder in the closing stages saw him rise from eighth to fifth at the flag ahead of Kirby.
Ben Palmer was left to settle for seventh, having risen to a high of fifth at one point, while Tyler Lidsey finished up eighth, less than second away from the top six at the chequered flag, with Ben Colburn a distant ninth.
In the Road Series, early drama for Jack Fabby led to a lap one retirement, meaning it came down to a two-horse race between pole-sitter Sarah Franklin and Nic Harrison – the latter taking the class lead on the opening lap.
Harrison, the reigning class vice-champion, would go on to hold the lead until lap nine when he suffered a retirement of his own, handing a first class victory to Franklin, competing a race win double for the Westbourne team.
Full race results can be found here. Race two is scheduled to begin at 15:50 this afternoon.