Gordon Shedden and Matt Neal lead a Halfords Yuasa Racing one-two in the second Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race of the day at Brands Hatch.
Race one winner Tom Ingram again made a lightning getaway as the lights went out for the second encounter, but the best start of all came from the rear-wheel drive BMW of Rob Collard which climbed from sixth to second.
In a lighter BMW 125i, the West Surrey Racing driver’s bid to take the lead at Paddock Hill Bend a lap later ended in tears with contact heading up into Druids. Collard was left facing the wrong way, Ingram carrying on in the lead but forced to retire with right-rear suspension damage.
A safety car interruption was called to move Chris Smiley and Stewart Lines’ stricken cars, after which the Honda pairing of Shedden and Neal resumed action at the head of the field with Josh Cook in pursuit.
The latter was soon usurped of third spot by the flying Team BMR Volkswagen CC of Aron Smith, making a clean move on the MG6 GT exiting Clearways on lap six.
The Triple Eight man was bumped back another two spots on lap nine, as Andrew Jordan and Mat Jackson both slotted past Cook at Paddock Hill Bend.
Shedden and Neal remained just over a second apart at the front with Smith and Jordan in hot pursuit, the latter’s Motorbase Ford Focus ST closing in with the softer Dunlop tyre compound. Shedden was ultimately unchallenged on his way to victory, leading a Halfords Honda one-two ahead of Smith and Jordan.
On lap 21 however the race was thrown wide open, as fluid on the circuit at Graham Hill Bend saw several drivers suffer excursions. Among those included Cook’s MG from sixth place and Jackson’s Ford, the latter surviving to finish fifth ahead of Ashley Sutton‘s MG, Jack Goff‘s BMW and Adam Morgan‘s Mercedes.
The battle for the final spot inside the top 10 was fiercely contested from the restart. Team HARD‘s Jake Hill was the man who grimly defended that position initially, surviving contact with the recovering WSR BMW of Sam Tordoff on lap 12.
Sadly, a problem for the Toyota Avensis slowed Hill and removed him from the equation ahead of a race three reverse grid scenario, the late drama bumping Tordoff up to ninth ahead of Eurotech Racing‘s Jeff Smith.
Dan Welch finished an impressive 12th for Proton, ahead of the best Team BMR Subaru Levorg of Jason Plato who scored the car’s first points.
Race three gets underway at 17:12, and you can keep up with all the action right here and via @TheCheckerFlag on Twitter.