West Surrey Racing’s Sam Tordoff produced the goods in the Oulton Park finale to take an impressive victory in front of a packed Cheshire crowd.
The Yorkshireman had to fight from an early setback as he battled for the lead off the line. The BMW 125i M Sport ran around the outside of pole-sitter Adam Morgan as the field filtered through Old Hall for the first time, but Tordoff left his car hanging dangerously near the grass. The young charger ran wide, which allowed Matt Neal’s Honda Civic Type R through and into second.
Second became first for Neal when heartbreak struck Morgan as he was adjudged to have jumped the start in his WIX Racing Mercedes. The TV pictures proved the point and the Thruxton race-winner was forced to take a drive through penalty.
Neal initially held the lead with relative ease but he seemed to briefly take his eye off the ball at mid-distance. Tordoff reeled him and tucked his car down the inside of the Honda at Lodge before making the move stick at Old Hall on lap nine. One tour later and it was MG’s Andrew Jordan who produced a similar move on Neal, although this time the pair touched on a number of occasions before the triple champion eventually succumbed.
Honda Yuasa Racing’s Neal regained his composure to complete the podium ahead of team-mate Gordon Shedden, who faded late on into the clutches of races one and two winner Jason Plato.
Colin Turkington collected solid points in sixth in what had been a largely lacklustre day for the reigning champion. He showed his class in race three with a stellar pass at Lodge, however, which relegated his stablemate Aron Smith down to seventh.
Jack Goff completed a consistent afternoon with eighth ahead of an eye-catching battle at the lower end of the top ten. Tom Ingram’s Toyota had been bumped and barged for much of the race but he had the last laugh as he snatched ninth from Jeff Smith’s Eurotech Honda by just 0.047s.