Laser Tools Racing's Aiden Moffat has won a damp opening race ahead of Tom Ingram at Brands Hatch as Ashley Sutton takes a giant leap forward towards clinching a first ever British Touring Car Championship title with a podium finish in third.

Despite receiving race-long pressure from Ingram and Sutton, the Mercedes A-Class driver led every single lap of a tricky opening encounter, which began under greasy conditions.

Moffat started on the front-row but immediately inherited the lead after pole-sitter Jack Goff lost the rear of his Honda Civic Type-R and spun across the circuit on the exit of Paddock Hill corner, almost collecting championship leader Sutton and Rob Austin in the process.

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Meanwhile, as the front three quickly romped away from the rest of the field, Sutton pressed home his points advantage as fellow title protagonist Colin Turkington endured a miserable race well down the order.

It took almost 11 laps for Turkington to match the race leading pace with his RWD BMW 125i M Sport seemingly struggling to generate any tyre temperature in the damp conditions.

Turkington did threaten to creep into the top-ten towards the end of the race, but a minor altercation with Matt Simpson saw the Team BMW driver slip back down the order to 15th, which has given Sutton a substantial 24-point lead with just two races to go.

Back at the front, Moffat managed to hang on for his second win of the 2017 season, despite having to pick his way through lapped traffic.

Ingram finished just 0.345s back from the leading Mercedes in second, while Sutton settled for what could prove to be a title worthy podium in third.

Almost 15 seconds off the rostrum order, Motorbase Performance's Mat Jackson jumped up the order from 17th to finish fourth ahead of Power Maxed Racing duo Tom Chilton and Senna Proctor in fifth and sixth.

Reigning champion Gordon Shedden was seventh for Honda, while Dave Newsham, Rob Austin and Matt Neal completed the remainder of the top-ten order.