Alan Menu moved 10 points clear of his nearest rival with a near perfect display of aggression and caution in a wet feature race at Snetterton.
Fifteen cars made their way out of pitlane for the first of two pace laps before the start of the Snetterton Feature Race with Vincent Radermecker being the unlucky absentee.
Vauxhall became the first team to use their option on swapping team cars during a race meeting after Radermecker and Yvan Muller both crashed their Vectra's in the sprint race. Muller's car was irreparable and thus Radermecker was forced to hand his machine over to his team leader.
At the end of the first pace lap, fifteen cars returned to the pitlane to change tyres as a sudden rain shower had made the track decidedly wet. This delay meant that the projected start time of midnight was not going to be achieved and a further delay when the starting lights failed meant that the race had to be shortened to 20 laps to comply with the Norfolk circuit's 1 am curfew.
Championship leader Alain Menu took up his original second place on the grid alongside his Ford team-mate Rickard Rydell after the team successfully appealed against his qualifying time being disallowed.
Away from the start, Rydell got far too much wheelspin and was quickly enveloped by Menu, Jason Plato
and Anthony Reid. Menu was the only driver who could see clearly through the combination of rain and black skies. By the end of the first lap the Swiss Mondeo driver had opened up a one second advantage over Plato who was similarly moving clear of Reid. Rydell had now gathered his thoughts and was fourth while Yvan Muller had settled himself into his team-mates machine quickly and was in hot pursuit. Behind him came James Thompson and Matt Neal
who had forced his way past sprint race runner up Tom Kristensen and Gabriele Tarquini.
Menu easily opened up a comfortable advantage over Plato who was struggling for a clear view behind the Ford. With pitstops still compulsory despite the reduction in race length, Plato knew that if he stayed in touch with the Ford he would get a second crack at the leader after the pitstops.
Muller was the first to pit, followed by Rydell and Reid who both pitted on lap four. The Swedish driver gained enough ground on his team-mate in the pits that when they returned to the racetrack it was Rydell who led the Scotsman.
Menu, Plato and Thompson, who had now risen to third, plugged on, all three happy with their cars if a little frustrated by the reduction in race length. Plato came in first on lap six although his Vauxhall crew were somewhat sloppy by their standards, costing Jason valuable time.