For the second season in succession, Lee Pattison has tasted victory on the opening weekend of the Renault UK Clio Cup season around the Brands Hatch Indy Circuit.
Pattison stormed around the outside of pole-sitter Mike Bushell at Paddock Hill Bend on the opening lap and went on to lead the rest of the season opener in Kent.
Bushell was the dominant force in qualifying last season, taking twelve pole positions, and he had continued that momentum with the first two poles of 2017 earlier in the day.
That advantage was short-lived however, and despite his best efforts to put pressure on the leader throughout the race, Pattison kept him at bay to take the win.
Behind them, triple champion Paul Rivett completed the podium after running third throughout, but he was kept on his toes in the latter stages by the hugely impressive James Dorlin.
In his debut race in the series, Dorlin produced the most remarkable opening lap as he rose ten places from his grid slot of 16th – having suffered an early off in qualifying.
Not content with just that though, Dorlin picked off Shayne Deegan on lap three and Jack McCarthy soon after, before pressuring Rivett to the chequered flag.
Fellow debutant McCarthy would complete the top five, having earlier in the day starred with third on the grid in qualifying, while Max Coates fought to sixth at the finish.
Dan Zelos, Ollie Pidgley and Ash Hand were next up, while Luke Reade beat Nathan Harrison to tenth by just 0.029 seconds after a drag race to the line.
James Colburn would take twelfth at the flag, having ran in the top ten for the first half of the race, while Deegan eventually slipped to fourteenth below Daniel Rowbottom.
Full race results can be found here: http://tsl-timing.com/file/?f=TOCA/2017/171303cli.pdf
There were two drivers absent from the race meanwhile, with Graham Field and Paul Streather forced to miss the weekend’s racing after a heavy incident in Friday testing.
A spin for Streather led to him being collected by Field, causing extensive damage to both cars, with JamSport deeming Field’s car unrepairable.
WDE would produce a mammoth overnight repair job on Streather’s car though, re-shelling his Clio and getting it ready for action, but unfortunately the driver would not be medically cleared to drive.