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.
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.