Colin Turkington secured a straight-forward victory in the opening HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship race of the weekend at Oulton Park to close to within a point of Matt Neal in the championship standings.
Turkington qualified in third place at the Cheshire circuit, but made the most of the rear-wheel prowess of his Team RAC BMW 320si to blast between Racing Silverline pair Jason Plato and Mat Jackson into Old Hall for the first time to secure the lead. Adam Jones however, who had started alongside Turkington on row two, went backwards at the start and lost a number of positions on the opening lap.
Turkington led from Plato and Jackson, with Jonathan Adam in fourth from Stephen Jelley and Fabrizio Giovanardi, but it would prove to be a quiet race in blistering conditions.
As the Chevrolet pair behind ran in close formation, Turkington attempted to pull out a lead but behind, team-mate Jelley came under pressure from Giovanardi who managed to take fifth on the run to Hislops on lap three. Further down the order, Harry Vaulkhard would become the only retirement of the race on the following lap when he spun off at the same place after contact with Paul O'Neill while dicing for twelfth place.
Out front, Turkington was pulling away and as the race wore on, his lap-times remained more consistent while a number of the front-wheel drive runners struggled. The Team RAC man duly secured victory ahead of Plato, although there was late heartache for Jackson when he suffered a front left puncture on the penultimate lap and was forced to pit – dropping him to the rear of the field as a result.
Jackson's issue promoted Adam onto the podium, while Giovanardi held on to fourth despite the close attentions of Jelley through the closing laps. Jones ended up with sixth ahead of Neal and James Thompson, who battled past Rob Collard early in the race and left the Airwaves BMW in the clutches of Andrew Jordan.
Jordan managed to get ahead on lap six only for Collard to fightback and having looked for a way through on a number of occasions, finally found a way past on lap ten after contact exiting Cascades. Jordan did well to avoid a spin and kept his Vectra on track to eventually take the flag tenth and secure the final championship point.
James Nash was an encouraging eleventh on his BTCC debut ahead of O'Neill and Team Aon pairing Tom Chilton and Alan Morrison. Dave Pinkney, Dan Eaves, Martin Johnson, Martyn Bell and Jackson completed the finishers, while John George failed to start after his engine let go on the way to the grid.
To view the results, CLICK HERE