Defending British Touring Car champion Ash Sutton has opened his 2021 victory account with a sensational win in the changeable conditions at Thruxton.

Sutton started the race from fourth on the grid but capitalised on the unpredictable conditions to secure his first win of the year ahead of two-time champion Jason Plato in second.

Rain showers which ranged in duration and intensity wreaked havoc during the final race of the day. The vast majority of the field elected to start the race on wet tyres, with the exception of Jake Hill and Tom Oliphant, who both opted to start on slicks.

Sutton led the opening half of the race ahead of the two Team BMWs of Colin Turkington and Stephen Jelley, but, by lap six, the rain decreased and the race began to come back to slick tyre runners.

Indeed, by lap nine Hill and Oliphant scythed their way into first and second ahead of Sutton's Infiniti. However, just as Hill wrestled the lead from Sutton, the heavens began to open once again.

While Oliphant fell down the order in the RWD BMW, Hill produced a heroic drive on the slick tyre to maintain his position in the leading group. The MB Motorsport driver somehow held onto the lead until lap 14 of the race, despite the conditions continuing to deteriorate.

Sutton eventually took the honours to make up for what has been a largely difficult day for the defending champion, while a late charge from Plato saw the two-time champion beat Hill by the smallest of margins at the line.

Hill retained third ahead of a magnificent charge up the order from Gordon Shedden in fourth. Shedden started race three from 28th, but the three-time champion made 14 places on the opening lap before continuing to pick his way through the field at a rapid rate of knots.

Less than 0.3s covered Plato, Hill and Shedden as the trio crossed the line.

Dan Lloyd consolidated a strong weekend for the Power Maxed Racing Vauxhall in fifth, ahead of Team BMW duo Turkington and Oliphant in sixth and seventh.

Jack Goff gave the brand new Cupra Leon its first top-ten finish with eighth, while Ollie Jackson and Stephen Jelley completed the remainder of the top-ten in ninth and tenth.