Team BMW's Colin Turkington cruised to take what could prove to be a vital British Touring Car Championship victory in race three at Croft after easing away from series heavyweights Gordon Shedden and Ash Sutton.

The four-time champion took full advantage of starting the reverse grid race from pole position to lead every corner of the race on his way to a 59th career BTCC race victory.

Turkington started the race a full 40-points behind championship leader Sutton, but has now narrowly trimmed the gap to 35-points with just three rounds to go.

Such was Turkington's level of margin, the BMW 330i M Sport driver romped clear to a near four-second victory ahead of Team Dynamics driver Gordon Shedden.

Unlike Turkington, Shedden's route to second position wasn't as plain sailing with reigning champion Sutton pushing the former three-time champion every inch of the way during the reverse grid encounter.

With a potential third drivers' title looming large for Sutton, the Laser Tools Racing driver could ill-afford a mishap with the Honda Civic Type R of Shedden. However, Shedden was inch perfect in the defence of his second place, leaving Sutton little opportunity to pounce.

Excler8 Motorsport's Tom Ingram scored another strong fourth place finish in the Hyundai, ahead of fellow title contender Josh Cook in fifth.

Aiden Moffat consolidated what has been by far his strongest weekend of the season with more points in sixth, while race two winner Jake Hill battled with maximum success ballast to seventh.

Senna Proctor, Dan Rowbottom and Tom Chilton completed the remainder of the top-ten order in eighth, ninth and tenth.