Tom Ingram and Colin Turkington continue their championship battle whilst Chris Smiley takes his first British Touring Car Championship win, the 12th different winner of the 2018 season.
Adam Morgan would be starting his Mac Tools with Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes at the front for round 19 having scored his maiden pole position in a qualifying session that saw the top 28 cars covered by just one second.
A session that meant you needed to have that perfect time meant that Morgan would start on pole with the top ten in the following order for the first race of the weekend; Sam Tordoff, Dan Cammish, Mike Bushell, Dan Lloyd, Chris Smiley, Tom Chilton, Brett Smith, Jason Plato and Ash Sutton.
A good start from the front row saw them leading going into the hairpin of turn one, whilst Cammish had made a sluggish start and was looking to hold onto third position, however breaking late into turn one saw him tag the back of Tordoff which sent Tordoff into a spin and left him facing the rest of the grid. Most managed to miss the pink Ford but caught up was the two BTC Norlin’s of Chris Smiley and Dan Lloyd as well as Andrew Jordan and Matt Neal. The safety car was bought out to clear up the debris.
The restart was on a damp track and it wasn’t long before Plato was off. The battle on track was for second position, with Chilton, Sutton and Cammish fighting for the position which was just allowing Morgan to pull away after the early challenge from Chilton. As the three were fighting each other Smiley caught up to the back of this pack. With just a few laps to go Sutton moved past Chilton to take up second place, with Smiley also passing Cammish.
The other battle on track was between the two championship contenders, Colin Turkington and Tom Ingram. However, Ingram suffered a failure on the last lap causing him to stop and allowing Turkington to take over the championship lead.
Morgan crossed the line to take a lights to flag victory, with Sutton and Chilton on the podium. Smiley held onto fourth ahead of Cammish, Bushell, Turkington, Aiden Moffat, Rory Butcher and Matt Simpson the last of the top ten.
Race two also saw the safety car out on lap one, with Jelley and Moffat both off. On the restart Caine was tagged and saw him crash and the safety car was back out.
The race was on for third after Sutton passed Morgan at the original start to take the lead. For the most part of the race it was Bushell, Senna Proctor and Turkington who were in the fight, but the fast-moving Ingram closed down on the trio having made short work of moving his way up the order having started 27th. By this time Proctor had taken up third position and Ingram was quick to pass title-rival Turkington to move up into fifth and then both passing Bushell.
Ingram was chasing down Proctor who in the closing lap locked up the rear and cut the chicane for the second time allowing Ingram to move through to take the final podium position.
Proctor held onto fourth from Turkington, whilst Smiley had made it past Bushell. Butcher was eighth whilst Simpson and Chilton closed out the top ten.
Ricky Collard who was replacing father Rob in the BMW for the weekend had problems on the formation lap which saw the race start delayed as they removed his car from the circuit. During this delay there was some light rain and when pole man of the reverse grid, Chilton, reached the first corner he was taken by surprise by the damp conditions. He loses the back end of the car, as does Simpson in second place allowing Smiley to move through to take the lead with Butcher also moving up to take up the challenge.
A recovering Chilton takes Andrew Jordan by surprise causing damage to Jordan’s car. A crash at the end of lap on involving Brett Smith sees the safety car come out.
On the restart the track had dried out and Smiley made the perfect restart leaving Butcher to defend second place from Simpson and Turkington, with Simpson making the move to take up the position and Turkington looking for a way through too. Tordoff was all over the back of Turkington whilst Ingram was biding his time behind.
Later in the race Butcher made a mistake allowing Turkington to move up into third and going into the final lap had closed onto the back of second placed Simpson, who in the closing stages makes a mistake allowing Turkington through to take the position.
Smiley took an unchallenged win, his first in the BTCC and to become the 12th different winner of the 2018 season. There was a drag to the line for third place with Simpson recovering to just edge in front to take the position from Tordoff and Ingram. Butcher was sixth ahead of Bobby Thompson, who had worked his way up from the back of the grid to take seventh from Morgan, Ollie Jackson and Cammish.
After the problems in race one resulting in no points for Ingram, Turkington took over the lead of the championship but Ingram came back in race two from starting 27th on the grid to finish on the podium in third to regain the lead by two points. However, Turkington was able to keep Ingram behind in the final race to once again take over the championship lead by just four points as they head into the closing stages of the championship with Knockhill in two weeks’ time.