Jason Plato secured his second win of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship season at Thruxton but the final race of the weekend belonged to a man who wasn't even running when it drew to a close.
Despite his relative lack of experience in the series, Andy Jordan produced a storming drive that saw him challenging Gordon Shedden and then Plato for top spot before being forced into retirement in the closing stages.
Having been given pole thanks to the reverse grid draw, Jordan led the field away when the lights went green but lost out to Shedden as the field streamed into the Complex for the first time. Plato then also got ahead of the teenager into Seagrave, but Jordan held on to maintain third at the end of he lap despite the attention of Mat Jackson in fourth, with Darren Turner and Adam Jones rounding out the top six.
With Jordan running well in the opening laps, Jackson found himself under pressure from Turner behind and on lap three, he powered past the BMW on the run over the start/finish line to take fourth place. Further down the order Fabrizio Giovanardi was embroiled in a frantic battle with team-mates Matt Neal and Tom Onslow-Cole and edged ahead of the double race winner Onslow-Cole into ninth place.
By lap four, Jordan was right on the tail of Plato in the battle for second place with Shedden managing to break away at the front as he had done in the opening race. With much of the focus on the battle towards the front, positions were changing rapidly behind with Matt Neal taking seventh from Colin Turkington on lap four and Tom Chilton breaking into the top ten at the expense of Onslow-Cole.
Plato gradually started to haul in Shedden for the lead with Jordan following closely behind but on lap eight, there was heartache for Shedden as – for the second time on the day – he suffered a puncture while leading and was forced to pit, putting Plato into the lead ahead of Jordan and Turner. That wouldn't last for long however as two laps later, Turner picked up a flat tyre which put Jackson back into a podium position.
On lap eleven came the incident that showed that Jordan would take no prisoners as Jackson made a move for second at the complex only for Jordan to fight back immediately. With the pair slightly delayed, Adam Jones saw a chance to try and overtake them both with the trio running three abreast into Noble. Hanging on on the inside line Jordan retained the place ahead of Jackson while Jones was hung out to dry on the grass and slipped down to fifth place behind Giovanardi.
When Jordan made a mistake on lap 13 and ran wide, Jackson was able to get through into second place with Giovanardi attempting to then take third from the 18-year-old. However contact at the Club Chicane saw Jordan forced to run over the corner and as he rejoined and the cars behind bunched up, Tom Chilton picked up damage to his Halfords Honda that would force him to retire.
Plato still led from Jackson at that points but as the field came round to start the 15th lap, Jordan suddenly peeled into the pits with an engine issue that brought a storming drive to a premature end. Notice had been served however on the raw pace of the rookie.
Despite an issue with the brake bias on his car that had required work on the grid, Plato held on to take the win ahead of Jackson, while Giovanardi eventually ended up in third place ahead of Neal, Jones and Turkington.
Double winner Onslow-Cole took seventh ahead of Mike Jordan, with the top ten completed by Steven Kane and Harry Vaulkhard – the latter picking up his first BTCC point in the process.