Anthony Reid watched as his Ford team-mates Alain Menu and Rickard Rydell collided just metres after the start and went on to fend off a determined Gabriele Tarquini for a crucial win.

With team orders not being a feature amongst the West Surrey Racing Ford Mondeo squad, you could have banked on the front three men on the Sprint Race grid: Anthony Reid, Rickard Rydell and Alain Menu, getting away cleanly on the cramped Oulton Park front stretch.

If you did then you would be wrong for as Reid made good his escape, the slow starting Rydell moved to the inside of the track where he discovered that Menu was already there. The contact sent Rydell hard into the concrete wall where the suspension on the Mondeo crumpled leaving the Swedish driver a sitting duck for the rest of the 22-car field.

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Somehow everyone avoided the Ford although some of the Class B runners got mighty close and the only other Turn One action came when new boy Garth Howell tapped one of the Alfa's into a harmless spin.

The safety car was deployed as the marshals removed the stricken car and Reid was left leading the grateful Gabriele Tarquini who drove round the outside of the troubles to take second while Menu recovered to third.

However the 40-kilogram weight penalty that Menu was carrying took its toll away from the re-start and as Reid and Tarquini pulled away, Menu was left looking backwards at the on-coming James Thompson and Yvan Muller.

By the time Thompson forced his way through, in a robust move at Lodge on lap seven, the two leaders were more than five seconds to the good. Thompson's move also allowed Yvan Muller to take advantage and Menu was left in fifth position with the rest of the Super Touring pack all closely bunched behind.

The race contained many of the elements that have made Super Touring in Britain one of the most exciting championships in recent years with plenty of bumping a scraping and wheel-to-wheel racing. However the race also contained many of the elements that have contributed to the demise of the formula, which was comprehensively displayed by the battle for the lead.

Try as he might, Tarquini simply couldn't get close enough to Reid to challenge for the lead with the advanced aerodynamics of both cars making them very difficult to drive. Despite being glued together at the bumpers, Reid did not have to fight off a single attack from the Honda and the Scotsman cruised home with six tenths of a second to spare.

Indeed the same could be said about the scrap for fifth that Menu was able to keep until the end despite being much heavier than his rivals. Coming home just behind Menu was Vincent Radermecker who rates Oulton Park as one of his favourite circuits in the world while Matt Neal put in a storming drive to seventh after starting from the back of the Super Touring field. Tom Kristensen was a lowly eighth at the flag after a slide down the field with Jason Plato completing the Super Touring runners just two tenths behind Kristensen.

The battle for the final podium spot, which took place in no-mans land between the leaders and the scrap for fifth, was resolved on lap ten when Muller neatly outbraked Thompson into the Fosters hairpin, the Frenchman keeping his very faint title hopes alive in the process.

In Class B Alan Morrison was able to use his experience to pull away from the field which was decimated by accidents and reliability woes to score his twelfth class win of the year and increase his points lead over James Kaye who battled from last on the grid to third in class.

Morrison's team-mate Dan Eaves came home second and was involved in a great three way scrap for the place with Kaye and Gavin Pyper which was resolved on lap 14 when the three collided coming through Cascades, the Alfa being launched off the tyre barrier into a frightening barrel roll from which the driver was lucky to emerge unscathed.

Along with Pyper's Alfa, Rydell's title hopes also lay in a crumpled mess and it will take some more carnage in the Feature Race to allow the Swedish driver back in contention. It looks as though it will now be a head to head fight for the title between Reid and Menu.