NB: Onslow-Cole was later excluded for the incident with Giovanardi.
Darren Turner has secured his second Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship win in round 25 of the season at Knockhill, with team-mate Jason Plato extending his lead in the championship standings to ten points.
It had looked like Plato and Fabrizio Giovanardi would have ended the race level on points as the Italian held the advantage for most of the race before contact with Tom Onslow-Cole late on saw him plummet down the order.
At the start of the race, Turner made the best start from pole to lead into SEAT Curve with fellow front-row starter Colin Turkington slotting in behind in second from home hero Gordon Shedden. Further down the order, Onslow-Cole had jumped up to sixth ahead of Tom Chilton, with Mike Jordan slipping down to eighth.
Before the end of the opening lap however, two cars were in trouble – with Matt Neal and Mat Jackson getting involved for the second meeting in succession. Running down to the Real Radio Hairpin, Neal looked to the inside of the BMW but contact between the pair saw Jackson spin off to the inside of the circuit with his car getting somewhat airborne and sustaining damage to the front and rear, and Neal circulating a few times before returning to pitlane.
Out front, Turner was easing away from Turkington who was coming under pressure from behind from Shedden. On lap three, Shedden ran down the inside going into the Hairpin and then cut back inside as the two ran up to the start finish line, with Shedden taking the place going into SEAT Curve. Behind the top three meanwhile, Plato was fourth ahead of Giovanardi, Onslow-Cole, Chilton, Jordan and Adam Jones.
Clearly a man on a mission, Onslow-Cole battled ahead of Chilton on lap six but things went wrong for the VX Racing man when he tried to take the place back on the following lap. Looking up the inside of the BMW at Carlube corner, Chilton made heavy contact with the tyres on the inside of the circuit and damaged the front of his car, managing to do little more than a lap before pulling off the circuit. Ahead of that battle, Giovanardi was now ahead of Plato, cutting back inside the SEAT at the Hairpin to go into fourth place.
Within two laps, Plato had lost further ground as he lost out to Onslow-Cole at Carlube which would lead to the biggest battle of the race – with a train of cars led by Giovanardi circulating together lap after lap. On lap 14, Plato tried to find a way past Onslow-Cole into the Hairpin but couldn't made the move stick while two laps later, the pair did the same again only for Onslow-Cole to edge back ahead on the run up the hill to the finish line.
That battle was deflecting somewhat from the fight for the lead, with Shedden having closed in on Turner as the race progressed. On lap 18, he went for the lead at the Hairpin but outbraked himself and made contact with the SEAT as the pair turned in. Although it allowed Shedden to take the lead, it also caused damage to the front left of his Honda Civic and he was forced to pull into the pits to retire to the disappointment of the home fans.
That left Turner comfortably clear of Turkington who in turn had a healthy advantage over the fight for what was now third – which was now headed by Giovanardi from Onslow-Cole, Plato, Jones and Jordan – the latter two having swapped positions. Behind them, Gavin Smith, John George, Martyn Bell and Alan Taylor were the only cars still running with both Kartworld MGs having also expired.
On the penultimate lap however, the race was to have a sting in the tail for Giovanardi as he was tagged from behind by Onslow-Cole turning into Carlube. Although able to control the slide his Vectra was tipped in to, the Italian could do nothing to prevent the train behind from slipping past, with Plato also rubbing further salt into the wound by getting ahead of Onslow-Cole into third. It meant Giovanardi ended up seventh and rather than clawing in the four point gap enjoyed by Plato going into the race, he instead slipped to ten points behind his rival.
Out front, the win went to Turner from Turkington and Plato, with Onslow-Cole fourth from Jones and Jordan. Behind Giovanardi, Gavin Smith was eighth while George and Bell completed the points finishers from debutant Taylor.
For full results, CLICK HERE.