Fabrizio Giovanardi made it two wins from two at Thruxton with a lights to flag win in the second race of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship's opening meeting.
The Italian started the race from pole position and – despite maximum ballast on his car – was able to break away from the chasing pack early on and control the race from the front.
The double champion now has a chance to become only the third driver to secure three victories on a single day in the final race of the weekend, although he will start the race from ninth on the grid following the reverse grid draw.
Giovanardi's run to victory was aided by a battle behind for second place that ran for the entire 16 laps – initially between Jason Plato
and Paul O'Neill – the latter having jumped ahead of Mat Jackson
when the BMW was slow away at the start.
A storming drive from Matt Neal
brought him into contention for the second step of the podium as he worked his way up the order and he got ahead of O'Neill at Village on lap twelve. However, a move around the outside into the Chicane on lap 15 would end in tears as Plato tagged the Honda and suffered a spin – dropping him to fourth and allowing Neal and O'Neill through to complete the podium.
Plato had to settle for fourth ahead of Jackson, while Alex MacDowall secured sixth in the second Chevrolet with another impressive drive on his debut. MacDowall's Clio Cup rival Phil Glew was just behind in seventh with Steven Kane
battling back from his disappointment in race one to take the flag eighth for his first points of the year. Rob Collard
and Dave Pinkney completed the top ten.
Outside the points, Gordon Shedden
was eleventh in his rebuilt Honda Civic, while Tom Onslow-Cole
was forced to settle for twelfth having been forced to start from pit lane when his car refused to start when the field streamed away for the green flag lap.
Matt Hamilton and Andy Neate were 13th and 14th ahead of Andrew Jordan
– who had to pit with a puncture – and Tom Boardman, who had run inside the top six before running wide across the grass exiting Village.
After an early spin at the Chicane, John George
became embroiled in a race long battle with Shaun Hollamby towards the rear of the field, with the Honda eventually beating the Volkswagen to the line for 17th, while Martin Johnson was the final finisher in 19th having lost a lap pitting with a puncture.
Tom Chilton was the only retirement from the race having pitted with a vibration at the front of his Team Aon Focus.