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Turkington leads RAC 1-2

Colin Turkington has moved back into the lead of the HiQ MSA British Touring Car Championship after leading Team RAC to a perfect 1-2 finish in the opening race of the weekend at Croft.

Turkington closed to within a point of Matt Neal with pole position at the North East circuit and made the perfect start when the lights went out to lead the field down to Clervaux for the first time, with team-mate Stephen Jelley making a good start from the second row of the grid to jump ahead of Jason Plato.

Adam Jones, alongside Plato on row two, was slow getting away but had already been hit with a penalty for the Cartridge World team working on the car too long on the grid and would pit at the end of the opening lap and drop down the order.

At the end of the opening lap, Turkington led from Jelley as the RAC duo quickly started to ease away, with the Chevrolet's of Plato, Mat Jackson and Harry Vaulkhard leading the chasing pack. Rob Collard held sixth from Andrew Jordan, Neal, James Thompson and Johnny Adam.

Behind Adam, defending champion Fabrizio Giovanardi was looking to bounce back from his challenging qualifying position and he dispatched both the young Scot and Thompson on the second lap to climb up to ninth, with Adam also slipping behind Thompson and James Nash on the road. However, Nash and Thompson came together dicing for position on lap three, which allowed Adam to get ahead of both drivers into the top ten.

On lap five, Giovanardi took eighth from team-mate Neal at Tower and was promoted a further place on the following lap when Jackson suffered a spin coming out of the Chicane and put his Silverline Lacetti into the barriers.

While the order out front remained static, both Neal and Adam got ahead of Jordan further down the top ten while Paul O'Neill also battled his way into the top ten ahead of James Nash as the race moved into its final quarter.

Vaulkhard in fourth was now coming under pressure from Collard's BMW and on lap ten, Collard went down the inside at the hairpin to take the position. Vaulkhard then ran wide coming out of the Chicane on the following lap, which allowed Giovanardi through into fifth place.

Vaulkhard was then under pressure from Matt Neal and the pair made light contact through the Jim Clark Esses, with Neal forced to run wide and Vaulkhard spinning to the inside of the circuit where he was lucky to escape from the ploughed infield. However, having recovered onto the circuit, Vaulkhard then suffered a spin entering the complex and Tom Chilton's Ford Focus was left with nowhere to go and slammed into the side of the Chevrolet.

With the Tempus Sport car blocking the track, the race was redflagged and the result declared as at the end of the 13th lap, with Turkington taking victory from Jelley – who took a maiden podium in the process – with Plato third.

Collard was fourth ahead of Giovanardi and Neal, with Adam, Jordan, O'Neill and Dave Pinkney completing the scorers. With the red flag having been caused by Vaulkhard and Chilton, neither was classed in the results.

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