Matt Neal won the first race of the day at Croft, despite a slow getaway which dropped him to third at the start, with Rob Collard fighting through to finish second in the West Surrey Racing BMW and Jason Plato not starting the race due to a mechanical problem.
As the cars formed up on the grid, Jason Plato’s Triple MG stopped on track and was recovered to the pits by the marshals, meaning the two-time champion missed the start of the first race for the second meeting in succession. Plato was able to join a few laps in and finished eight laps down in 20th place.
At the start, Neal had a sluggish start in the Honda Civic due to a clutch issue, which saw team-mate Gordon Shedden able to drive up and into the lead, with Andrew Jordan moving up into second. Rob Collard’s rear-wheel drive BMW was able to pass Wrathall’s Toyota, who was then hit by Andy Neate’s MG and dropped to 15th at the first corner.
Behind there was a multi-car incident, with the West Surrey Racing BMW of Nick Foster, the Proton Persona of Dan Welch and the Team ES Racing Vauxhall of Dave Newsham squeezing together down the straight/finish straight. Newsham was spun into the Armco and took heavy front end damage, whilst Welch and Foster’s car were also damaged but were able to continue after pitting for repairs.
After three laps behind the safety car the race resumed with Shedden leading Jordan and Neal. Neal passed Jordan for second on lap six at the hairpin, with Rob Collard following through in the BMW and moved up to third.
Collard’s team-mate Tom Onslow-Cole also made good progress, passing Mat Jackson’s Motorbase Ford for fifth on lap seven before spinning out at Tower Bend on the following lap and dropping down to 11th and had to work his way forward all over again.
On lap 12, Matt Neal took the lead from Gordon Shedden as the two Hondas were under pressure from Collard, with the two making contact as Neal made his way past, whilst Rob Collard was able to get ahead of Shedden as well and the two started to pull away slightly over the last few laps.
Andrew Jordan went on to finish fourth, with Rob Austin in the Audi passing Andy Neate’s MG for fifth at the hairpin at the end of lap 15. Tom Onslow-Cole finished seventh, despite suffering a late race puncture and just managed to keep Mat Jackson behind him as he crossed the line, with Will Bratt and Aron Smith completing the top ten.
Neal’s win puts him into the lead of the championship by one point over team-mate Shedden, and is 29 points clear of Jason Plato with Plato not scoring points in the race.