Max Coates secured a hugely popular maiden Renault UK Clio Cup win with a tremendous drive in the final race of the weekend at Croft, with a huge home crowd cheering him on as he battled his way through from fifth on the grid to victory.
Mike Bushell started the race from pole position and with championship leader Ant Whorton-Eales down in eleventh, the opportunity was there for him to gain some ground back in the title battle and he got off the line well to lead the field towards Clervaux for the first time.
His team-mate Josh Price slotted into second ahead of Paul Rivett, but that soon became first and second as a wide moment for Bushell allowed them through, whilst behind a three abreast move between Coates, Charlie Ladell and David Dickenson left the latter out of the race in the gravel.
Price held the lead for just over a lap before a great move from Rivett into Tower put the three-time champion at the head of the pack, whilst behind another wild slide for Bushell at Sunny In allowed Coates into third position.
From there, Coates got his head down and began closing down a 1.5 second gap to the duelling top two, with his efforts aided by an unfortunate mechanical problem for leader Rivett that almost ground him to a halt on lap four, forcing a visit to the pits.
By lap six, Coates finally worked his way onto the tail of his Graduates Cup rival Price and the Yorkshireman wasted no time in making a move, diving down the inside at the final hairpin to grab the lead of the race.
Despite the best efforts of Price and Bushell, who had shrugged off the attentions of Ladell and closed onto the back of the top two, Coates was able to keep his rivals at arms length through the remaining laps en-route to victory – the first for both Coates and the Ciceley Motorsport team.
There had been a quick change for second behind meanwhile, with Bushell passing his Team Pyro stablemate into Tower on lap seven to take the position, though Price held third until the finish for his third overall podium finish of the season so far.
A fantastic six car group squabbled over fourth position in the closing laps, with Ladell superbly holding off all the pressure to take fourth position ahead of Whorton-Eales, Paul Streather and Senna Proctor.
The sole Masters Cup entrant in the field Lee Pattison picked up eighth overall, with Daniel Rowbottom and Anton Spires completing the top ten. George Jackson and Rory Collingbourne were next on the road, but the latter received a five second penalty for exceeding track limits.
That demoted him to thirteenth behind Ollie Pidgley, with Luke Kidsley, Rory Green and Dan Zelos completing the runners on the lead lap, with Rivett a lap down following his visit to the pitlane.
Full race results can be found here.