Matt Neal scored his second victory of the season after a lights-to-flag performance in the final Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race of the day at Oulton Park.
A fine start for Neal from pole position kept him at the front of the field heading into Old Hall for the first time, team-mate Gordon Shedden looking feisty from the start as he challenged Josh Cook‘s Triple Eight MG6 for second.
The reigning champion soon made it a Honda one-two after a big slide for Cook’s MG heading through Druids, Tom Ingram taking advantage also to grab third spot.
From then, it appeared to be formation flying from Neal and Shedden at the head of the field as the triple champion held on for his second win of the season, however a puncture on the penultimate lap for Shedden would deny the Halfords duo a one-two finish.
The battle for what became second was tight until the flag. Ingram was the man holding control for Speedworks Motorsport for the majority of the race, Cook’s MG in hot pursuit along with the Team BMR Subarus of Jason Plato and Colin Turkington.
It all lead to a dramatic final three laps, Ingram hanging Cook out on the outside of Old Hall on lap 14 to set the ball rolling. The battle soon allowed the West Surrey Racing BMW of Sam Tordoff – carrying 75kg success ballast – to take advantage, slipping by the Subaru pair to move up to third.
That soon became second, when Tordoff’s better exit from the final corner allowed him to sneak by and hold onto his championship lead in the process.
Ingram looked on course for third still, but contact from the recovering Cook into the last corner of the race delayed the Avensis enough to allow an opportunistic Plato to round the pair of them and snatch a third podium of the day.
Once again, the man on the charge was the WSR BMW 125i of Rob Collard, eventually joining the battle to finish sixth at the end of an incident-packed day for the former series leader, having started 25th on the grid.
Turkington finished seventh ahead of the Motorbase Performance Ford Focus ST of Andrew Jordan, Jake Hill surviving a bump at the hairpin to seal ninth while Adam Morgan reached the top 10 for Mercedes.
Eurotech Racing‘s Daniel Lloyd was also involved in an incident at the same corner that terminally damaged his Honda Civic Type-R, Mat Jackson finishing 13th after tangling with the sister car of Martin Depper a corner later.