Gordon Shedden secured a lights-to-flag win in the opening race of the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship meeting at Thruxton.
The Scot produced an assured display to take full advantage of his pole position to pick up his second victory in the championship, having also won the opening race last time out at Oulton Park.
Shedden was never challenged during the race, with the big loser at the start being Colin Turkington in the Team RAC MG ZS, the orange car failing to get away from the line and forcing those behind to take avoiding action. It allowed Shedden to break away and it soon became clear that, barring any problems, there would only be one winner.
With Turkington not able to get away until the entire field was long gone, Tom Chilton held second, with title rivals Matt Neal and Jason Plato settling into third and fourth. Initially Chilton held an comfortable gap ahead of the two fighting behind but as the laps counted down, the pair began to close in and on lap nine, Neal swept past at the complex, with Plato quickly following him through.
Neal began to break away and his cause was helped when Plato was forced to retire on lap 14 after suffering a front left puncture – allowing Team Halfords to open the weekend with a one-two finish.
Third place went the way of Darren Turner after the SEAT man produced a storming drive on his debut in the series in the second Leon. Having started sixth, he battled with Gavin Smith in the early stages, before taking fifth from the VX Racing man at the Complex on lap ten. Benefiting from the retirement of his team-mate to go into fourth, Turner soon had to second Astra Sport Hatch in his sights and on the last lap he was able to steal the final place on the podium from Chilton.
It left the 21-year-old to settle for fourth, with Rob Collard claiming fifth after his dramas in qualifying when an engine fire brought his session to an early close, with Gavin Smith settling for sixth after dropping behind the MG ZS in the closing stages. James Kaye had an incident free drive to seventh while Turkington was very much left to wonder what might have been as he came through the field to finish eighth.
Jason Hughes in the similar machine of Kartworld Racing was ninth, with Fiona Leggate completing the top ten, despite suffering a spin on the second lap in the bio-ethanol powered Astra Coupe of Thurlby Motors with Tech Speed.
Arguably the biggest battle of the race was fought towards the rear of the field, as Adam Jones and Martyn Bell diced for eleventh place. The pair swapped position on numerous occasions throughout the race, before the Lexus eventually came out on top – Bell settling for twelfth in his first race with a sequential gearbox and having been forced to fit new suspension overnight after a failure in qualifying.
Alongside Plato, Dave Pinkney was forced out when he put the Motorbase Performance Integra into the wall and Fabrizio Giovanardi retired after suffering damaged suspension in his Astra Sport Hatch. Mike Jordan failed to take the start with gearbox problems while Mark Proctor will already be back home in Yorkshire after an engine failure in qualifying put him out of the weekend.