It was a Yvan Muller masterclass in the first race of the day at Mondello Park with the Frenchman leading from pole to chequered flag under pressure the whole way from WSR MG driver Anthony Reid.
Reid will rue a poor getaway at the start as his car had the match of Muller's maximum ballast Astra, but try though he did - and all with totally clean racing moves - Reid was unable to pass the impeccably placed Astra of Muller.
Muller in contrast was off to a superb start, one not befitting a car carrying the maximum success ballast after his win in the final race of the day at the last round at Oulton Park.
The tight and twisty Mondello circuit doesn't lend itself to overtaking so the first lap BTCC freight train was very tightly packed and anyone wanting to pass would have their work cut out.
Reid couldn't be closer to Muller's rear bumper, but the WSR driver was on very best behaviour for the entire race which he was to spend in exactly that position. Perhaps the penalty points on his racing licence and the frequent criticism from other drivers had made their mark. Or, more likely, Reid was playing a weighting game hoping for Muller's tyres to go off given the extra weight they carried.
Behind the lead two, Colin Turkington
looked very strong indeed in the second WSR MG. A better start than his team-mate saw Turkington challenge for second place at the first corner and keep his team-mate very true to the task ahead.
Further down the field Matt Neal
was the person attempting to disprove the theory that Mondello is a difficult circuit to pass on. First Neal in the Computeach Racing with Halfords Team Dynamics run Honda took Jason Plato
at the end of the second lap with a neat move.
Plato's ETCC SEAT is quick in a straight line however and the 2001 champ was back into the contested fifth place come the end of the pit straight, but Neal was not to be resisted and the Civic was soon out of Plato's clutches.
Whilst Neal was marching forwards, the next man to come into his sights, James Thompson looked to have a bit of a handful of a car on his hands. Clipping kerbs as he went, Thompson's car was causing the Yorkshireman plenty of moments.