Championship leader Colin Turkington has extended his advantage at the top of the standings after securing a dominant double victory at Oulton Park.
Starting from pole position in race two following his earlier win, Turkington ripped off the line and away from his eBay Motors team-mate Rob Collard. Not even a safety car period could disrupt the 2009 champion as he immediately rebuilt his advantage following the restart and went on to lead Collard home by a comfortable margin.
Rob Austin grabbed his first podium of the 2014 Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship after blasting his rear-wheel drive Audi A4 between Jason Plato's MG and Gordon Shedden's Honda when the lights went out. The Exocet Racing driver came under intense pressure throughout the race with at least five cars bumper-to-bumper behind him, but he held firm to reach the rostrum.
Plato hauled his MG6 alongside the Audi at Old Hall Corner on lap three but with Shedden looking to take advantage of any mishaps, the two-time champion decided that discretion was the better part of valour and slotted back into position. Shedden took a similar stance in the Honda Civic Tourer and with Andrew Jordan and Matt Neal again struggling down the order, the Scotsman secured fifth and some valuable championship points in the process.
Mat Jackson rounded out the top six after a last gasp pass on the MG of Sam Tordoff in what was the 250th BTCC race for Motorbase Performance. Tordoff's MG6 ran wide at Lodge Corner, also inviting the Toyota Avensis of Tom Ingram to nip down the inside and the pair made contact. Ingram made it through to seventh and Tordoff eventually had to settle for ninth as the VW of Aron Smith also got a run as the gaggle of cars approached the finish line. The unfortunate Nick Foster was also in the mix before his car slowed with an unidentified problem on the last lap.
The last race belonged to reigning BTCC champion Jordan. The 25-year-old endured a wretched weekend last time out at Oulton Park and Croft hadn't proved any kinder in the first two bouts, but all that changed in an action packed finale.
The magnitude of the melee increased immediately after the race when the No.8 was picked at random for the reverse grid draw, meaning Smith's move also helped to snatch pole position for race three. The Irishman will start alongside Ingram for the Oulton finale with Jackson just behind, creating an exciting and new look top order. With the likes of Shedden and Plato close behind, however, it remains to be seen if we'll have a new winner for 2014 in the final race of the day.
Chrome Edition Restart Racing's Alain Menu finished tenth but his performance wasn't without controversy after contact with both Fabrizio Giovanardi and Andrew Jordan in separate incidents. The Swiss star seemed to first out-brake himself at Hislop's on lap five, which led to contact with Giovanardi's Ford Focus and sent the Italian tumbling down the order. He then became embroiled in a battle with reigning champ Jordan three tours later when the latter got a run through Lodge. It was unclear if Jordan nudged the VW on his way through but Menu seemingly returned the favour when contact was made at Cascades, leaving the Pirtek Racing Honda spinning off the track.
Dave Newsham's day is over after his subframe was damaged in a high speed accident involving Jack Goff, which brought about the only safety car period of the day so far. Jordan slipped by the Ford Focus at Old Hall and when Goff tried to immediately follow suit contact was made at The Avenue. Newsham's car slid off the track and eventually made heavy contact with the barrier at Dentons.
Back up front and there were no such problems for Turkington as he swept to his fourth victory of the season. "That was a stunning race," beamed Colin. "We've got maximum weight on the car but it still feels great. It's fantastic to have two eBay Motors BMWs on the podium again!"