Gabriele Tarquini waltzed away from the BTCC field in Donington Parks Feature Race battle, atoning for his costly Sprint Race error.
Honda star Gabriele Tarquini was at his controlled best on a cloudy afternoon at Donington Park, biding his time during the early going and then taking advantage of a fantastic pit-stop to put the result beyond doubt before half distance.
The Italian's meteoric start from pole position in the Sprint Race proved to be a one off as it was Ford's Anthony Reid who led the field into Redgate for the first time. Thankfully there was no repeat of the earlier shenanigans and the first lap settled down with Reid leading Tarquini, Matt Neal, Rickard Rydell and James Thompson.
With a double victory and the championship lead in his sights, Reid's pace in the opening stages was awesome and his second lap was to remain the fastest of the afternoon. Tarquini and Neal remained within two seconds of the Ford but the ballast heavy Mondeo of Rydell soon dropped away giving Thompson and the Vauxhall of Yvan Muller the opportunity to rekindle their fierce Sprint Race battle.
Alain Menu was finding that the 40 kilos extra he was carrying added to the heavier fuel load required was simply too much for his repaired Mondeo and he was holding up the remaining Super Touring machines in seventh place.
Tom Kristensen was first in line although he had Jason Plato, David Leslie and Vincent Radermecker packed up closely behind him, all climbing over one another in their efforts to pass the Mondeo. The situation boiled over on lap six when Plato clashed with Kristensen coming out of Redgate, the Honda slicing across the front of the Vauxhall as it slid into the gravel trap and retirement.
Ahead of this battle, Muller performed a textbook manoeuvre on Thompson into the old hairpin and then proceeded to undo most of the good work by mistiming his pit-stop. However Muller is not a man to sit down in the face of adversity and began a storming series of laps on his cold tyres to bring himself back into contention.
Many drivers made their stops early including Reid who dived in for service on lap eight, the Ford crew turning their man around in smart fashion. They weren't quite as smooth when it came to Rydell's stop and as the Swedish driver found Muller's Vauxhall flashing past as he returned to the track.
Tarquini and Neal pressed on with their original rubber as did Thompson and Leslie while the rest of the Super Touring runners made their stops, Menu retaining his position ahead of Plato and Radermecker as the Ford boys got two out of three stops done with no hassle.