Tom Chilton has ended his long victory drought in the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship after taking the final win of the 2008 season at Brands Hatch.
The race itself ended behind the Safety Car after the engine on the Arkas Racing with Sunshine.co.uk Vauxhall Astra of Martyn Bell let go in spectacular fashion at Paddock Hill Bend – coating the circuit in oil and leading to a number of drivers taking trips across the gravel on the following lap.
The race also saw John George involved in a terrifying high-speed roll on the Cooper Straight after contact from the SEAT of Darren Turner. George escaped uninjured in the accident although the same can't be said for the TH Motorsport-run Honda Integra, which is unlikely to appear for sale with 'one careful owner' anytime soon.
At the start of the race, Chilton blasted into the lead off the line ahead of poleman Tom Onslow-Cole and Steven Kane, who chopped the nose off team-mate Rob Collard to get ahead of his fellow BMW man off the line. Andy Jordan slipped to fourth ahead of Collard and Mat Jackson but the race was soon behind the Safety Car following George's huge accident which destroyed the car and left him requiring a visit to hospital overnight.
Heading down the Cooper Straight, the JAG man moved over as Turner attempted to come past and the resulting contact tipped him sideways into the barriers with the car barrel-rolling ending over end before coming to rest on its side.
The race didn't resume until the eleventh lap once the car was recovered with Chilton remaining out front from Onslow-Cole and Kane. Further back meanwhile, an interesting battle was developing between Fabrizio Giovanardi and Jason Plato as the pair diced for position down the order having started from the back of the grid after their race two problems. Giovanardi kept trying to make a move at Clearways, but Plato was able to use the torque of the diesel engine to blast back ahead down the start/finish straight.
Lap 18 saw Adam Jones go off in the same place as George following a touch from Stephen Jelley but the race itself has settled down somewhat until lap 23, when Andy Jordan came under attack from Collard and was forced wide – dropping all the way down to eighth place as the cars behind stormed past.
However, the race would have a sting in the tail as Bell's engine let go going down Paddock Hill Bend and coated the circuit in oil. The cars following to complete the next lap were greeted with the sight as they turned in and a number took to the gravel on the outside of the corner meaning it was a somewhat shuffled field that came around to complete the next lap.
With the Safety Car called out, it was ultimately to be the end of the race, with Chilton winning from Kane and Onslow-Cole, while Jackson took the flag in fourth place.