Tom Onslow-Cole produced an assured performance that belied his relative lack of experience to secure a maiden Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship victory in round 21 at Snetterton.

Starting from pole position after the reverse grid draw worked in his favour, the rookie driver produced a fine drive to lead from start-to-finish, helping Team RAC to forget the disappointment of race one when Colin Turkington was excluded from the results having crossed the line first.

When the lights went green, it was a drag race to the first corner between Onslow-Cole and Mat Jackson in the quick starting BMW320si's, and it was Onslow-Cole who got there first to sweep into a lead he would manage to maintain for the remainder of the race.

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Behind the two BMWs, Jason Platoand Darren Turner held third and fourth at the end of lap one from Fabrizio Giovanardi and Matt Neal.

On lap two, Giovanardi got ahead of Turner into fourth which opened up the prospect of seeing the two title rivals going head-to-head on track. Further down the pack meanwhile, Gordon Shedden was making up places from the back of the pack and was into eighth by the end of lap two.

Aware that Giovanardi had taken points out of him in the opening two races, Plato set about chasing down Jackson but was unable to make a move stick on the Revett Straight on lap three. Someone who was making moves stick however was Shedden, now up to seventh by lap four having battled past Turkington - with Murray following him through.

Although Jackson did his best to defend the place, Plato took second at the Bomb Hole on lap seven while Turkington reclaimed eighth from Murray - and then the action really kicked off as the field started lap nine...

With Giovanardi having looked at Jackson for third, Neal saw a chance to try and take fourth from the Italian at Riches but only succeeded in tagging the back of the Vectra to send Giovanardi into a lurid slide. However, not only did Giovanardi manage to save the slide, he also managed to keep the place with Neal and Turner remaining behind - the SEAT having closed up as the two cars ahead made contact.

Turner would lament not being able to make up places there as on lap 13 he dropped two places to Turkington and Shedden - with Shedden then going back ahead of Turkington a lap later at The Esses, albeit after a trip across the infield after running out of road while trying to go round the outside of the BMW through the left-hander.

With Onslow-Cole leading from Plato, Jackson and Giovanardi, the result looked more or less settled - until Jackson elected to go for second on lap 16.

Getting a run along the Revett Straight, he went side-by-side with Plato through the left-hander which gave the BMW the inside line for the right-hander that completes the corner. However, contact as the BMW was squeezed towards the tyres on the inside of the bend saw the two cars run slightly wide and gave Giovanardi the chance to go past both. However, as Plato fought back and got ahead of Jackson, the SEAT and the Vauxhall found themselves going for the same piece of tarmac with the result that both ended up on the grass on the inside of the Bomb Hole. Coming back onto the track, they forced Jackson wide to take avoiding action, with Neal suddenly finding himself in second place after driving through the middle of the melee he found in front of himself. Giovanardi was now third with Plato fourth, while Jackson had been the big loser and rather than move up to second as he hoped, the impressive rookie was now seventh.

With that incident giving Onslow-Cole some breathing space, he came home for a popular first win ahead of a surprised Neal and Giovanardi, with Plato, Shedden and Turner rounding out the top six. Jackson had to settle for seventh from Tom Chilton, with Turner and Murray rounding out the top ten. As a mark of the competitiveness of the series, less than ten seconds covered the leading ten drivers.

After a noticeable gap, Erkut took eleventh place after getting ahead of Tom Ferrier and Jason Hughes late in the race, with Chris Stockton following the trio in 14th - a fine result for BTC Racing after his accident tin race two.

Simon Blanckley was 15th ahead of Martyn Bell with John George the final runner in 17th. George however could console himself with the fact that a tough weekend came to a close with him setting the quickest lap of any Independent driver in the final race.