Having missed out on victory last time out at Donington Park, Tom Onslow-Cole
made amends in the opening race of the weekend for a first HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship win in VX Racing colours.
After a dominant performance in qualifying, Onslow-Cole ran near the front throughout the race and having got into the lead, was able to control proceedings from the front for a comfortable win ahead of Colin Turkington
and Jason Plato.
When the race itself got underway, Onslow-Cole didn't make the best of starts which allowed Gordon Shedden
to lead into Campbell for the first time, Onslow-Cole meanwhile came under pressure from Jason Plato
who had the inside line into the right-hander at Campbell but was then forced to concede the place to the Vauxhall as they turned left into Cobb, with the birthday boy quickly setting off to chase after Shedden as the Scot tried to break away.
Behind the top two, Plato held third ahead of Fabrizio Giovanardi, Colin Turkington
and Matt Neal, with Tom Chilton, Darren Turner
– who ran wide at Church – Mike Jordan
and Mat Jackson
rounding out the top ten.
On the second lap, Jackson managed to get ahead of Jordan on the run up Woodham Hill and 'Old One' was soon dropping further back after losing position to both son Andrew and Steven Kane
in the following laps.
Out front, Shedden and Onslow-Cole were breaking away from the chasing pack, with Plato appearing to hold up the cars behind him – with Giovanardi and Turkington both fixed onto the rear of the Leon TDi. Neal, Turner, Chilton and Jackson meanwhile were also closing in on the battle for third.
On lap seven, Giovanardi made his move to try and get past Plato at the Complex after getting a run on the SEAT out of Club but Plato was able to fight back to maintain his position. However, the delay to Giovanardi was enough to allow Turkington to make a move and he gladly took fourth place from the Italian.
The battle for the lead remained a heated affair as Onslow-Cole remained fixed to the rear of Shedden, but on lap eight, Shedden went wide at Church when the front-left tyre on his Halfords Honda cried enough and the Scot was forced to return slowly to pitlane. It left Onslow-Cole with a healthy lead at the front and safe in the knowledge that victory was his bar a mistake.
The fight for second was much more tightly fought though, as was the dicing for positions further down the order. On lap ten, Chilton attacked Turner for seventh at the first chicane but then lost out to Jackson rather than making up a position on the exit of the corner on the run through Seagrave.
Further ahead, Plato was under intense pressure from Turkington in the fight for second, with the SEAT struggling to get the power down on the start/finish straight. On lap twelve, Turkington tried to get a run round the outside as the pair crossed the line and turned into Allard, but Plato just eased over enough to force the BMW man to lift off the throttle and back out of the move. On the following lap though, he went for the inside at the same place and made the move stick to go into second place.
That set the top five positions for the remainder of the race with Onslow-Cole ahead of Turkington, Plato, Giovanardi and Neal. Mat Jackson
took sixth place after a fine move on the penultimate lap which saw him go round the outside of Turner into the right-hander at Campbell which in turn gave him the inside line into the following left-hander at Cobb. It meant Turner had to settle for seventh place ahead of Chilton, with Adam Jones
and Mike Jordan
rounding out the top ten having battled ahead of Andrew Jordan
in the closing laps.