Jason Plato picked up a maximum score in the opening Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship race of the weekend at Brands Hatch.

The Chevrolet driver led from start-to-finish to pick up a maximum 15 points for victory, as well as a bonus point for leading a lap and setting the fastest lap of the race.

While Plato led throughout, Gordon Shedden tried to give chase behind having jumped to second off the line when team-mate Matt Neal was bogged down with wheelspin off the line. That dropped Neal down to fourth place behind Mat Jackson, although he took the place from the Airwaves BMW man when Jackson suffered a spin after running over the kerbs at Surtees.

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That put Neal behind Shedden but despite closing the gap to his team-mate, Neal had to settle for third place and is now 25 points down on Plato with 34 still available in the remaining two races.

Alex MacDowall took fourth having fought back from sixth at the end of the lap one with a charging Rob Collard close behind. Collard had started the race down in 13th place but stormed through the field to cross the line right on MacDowall's tail in fifth.

Paul O'Neill took sixth for sunshine.co.uk with Tech-Speed ahead of the Team Aon Ford of Tom Chilton, with James Nash, Andrew Jordan and Tom Boardman rounding out the top ten.

As far as the championship title is concerned, a retirement on lap 9 for Tom Onslow-Cole has dropped him out contention meaning it is now Plato against Neal and Shedden for the crown in the remaining two races.

Elsewhere in race one, debutant Ben Collins came from the rear of the field to 15th place in his Airwaves BMW while Sam Tordoff was 17th in his Triple Eight Vectra having lost places when he was handed a drive-through penalty for exceeding the track limits.