Jason Plato took a seventh win of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship season in race one on the Brands Hatch
GP circuit to close to within six points of the championship lead.
The Chevrolet driver led from start to finish to take victory but saw his title chances given a boost as both Gordon Shedden
and Matt Neal
failed to score. Shedden had dropped back to ninth after a lurid slide at Graham Hill Bend while Neal was running in fourth before the latter was forced to pit with a puncture and dropped out of contention.
However, Shedden then suffered the same fate in the closing laps and having been forced to pit, he too failed to score. Plato will now start race two from pole with Neal and Shedden 18th and 19th.
Behind the race winner, Mat Jackson
returned to the top ten after his recent run of poor form with second place having got ahead of Alex MacDowall late on when he slowed after a vibration appeared on his car. James Nash was fourth ahead of Tom Onslow-Cole, with the top six completed by Paul O'Neill.
Tom Chilton, Rob Collard, Andy Neate and Nick Foster also scored.
Elsewhere, there was disappointment for Andy Jordan, who qualified second on the grid but then failed to start with an electrical issue, while NGTC pair Frank Wrathall and Dan Welch also retired after incidents on track. Welch went off at Stirlings while running eleventh while Wrathall picked up damaged suspension while fighting Collard for position.
Martin Byford was another man delayed after being forced to pit for coil pack change while Tom Boardman had looked set to score before being forced into the pits at the end of the final lap with a puncture.