Ollie Jackson took his second career victory in the Kwik Fit British Touring Car Championship at Snetterton after overtaking Adam Morgan on the first lap, whilst the championship contenders went wheel-to-wheel in a thrilling finale at the Norfolk venue.
Colin Turkington leaves Snetterton as the championship leader after snatching a podium at the death. Ashley Sutton is eight-points behind with any one of the top five still in contention for the title heading into Brands Hatch.
From second on the grid, Morgan leap-frogged the sluggish Hyundai of Chris Smiley whilst Jackson also got through from third as Smiley held off the Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda of Dan Cammish, who eventually lost out to Rory Butcher, dropping him to fifth place whilst Smiley went down to fourth.
Not settling for second however, Jackson made an audacious move around the outside of Morgan at Agostini before completing the move at Hamilton to take the race lead. Morgan settled in behind the Motorbase Performance Ford Focus with great driving and respect being displayed by the pair.
Having also got off to a great start, Butcher then dived up the inside of Smiley going into the Montreal hairpin to grab third. Just a lap later, he tried to pull off an identical move on Morgan, but the Lancashire-based driver was wise to it and covered off the Scottish driver.
On the next tour, Butcher tried to this time go around the outside at the hairpin and get the cut-back, but once again, the Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes stayed ahead.
Northern Irishman Smiley was putting in the drive of his life to defend from a train of eight or so cars, four of which were being driven by the main championship protagonists.
Sutton was trying everything to get past the Excler8 Motorsport Hyundai, but it was to no avail. With Ingram, Cammish, and Turkington all behind him and pushing hard, the Laser Tools Racing man dived up the inside of Smiley going into Agostini.
Contact between the pair forced them both out wide allowing Ingram to swoop past and go up to fourth. Smiley hung on in fifth with Turkington in sixth and Sutton dropping to seventh whilst Cammish lay in eighth once the dust had settled.
Smiley ran wide going through Oggies with around half the race completed allowing Turkington to find a way past the resilient Hyundai. Sutton also took advantage of this and scraped his way through whilst contact between Smiley and Cammish coming out of Hamilton sent the former skating off and into the tyre barrier.
Meanwhile, fourth-placed Tom Ingram set the fastest lap of the race as he tried to chase down the leading trio of which Jackson still led, with Morgan in second and Butcher in third.
With none of the three able to make a move, Ingram closed down to make it a four-way battle for the lead of the race as they headed onto the final lap.
Butcher defended third going into Nelson which allowed both Jackson and Morgan to pull away as they navigated the final sector for the final time. This subsequently allowed the Toyota Corolla of Ingram to get a run through Bomb Hole.
With Butcher running out slightly wide, Ingram stuck his nose up the inside of the Ford Focus as the pair headed through Coram but contact between the pair sent Butcher onto the grass on the inside of Murrays. As he came back onto the tarmac, he careered into the rear left corner of Ingram, spinning him out.
All this allowed Turkington to find a spot on the podium in third whilst Sutton claimed a bruising fourth. Butcher eventually finished fifth whilst Ingram limped home a sorry eighth.
At the front though, Jackson held on with close attention being displayed by Morgan throughout the entirety of the race to secure his second ever BTCC win.
“The first win was really emotional,” explained Jackson. “This one just feels brilliant – I feel like a race winner already! It’s a great feeling again. I used to win races back in Caterhams obviously. But I think once you get back into the feeling of winning races again, it’s definitely something that gave me the confidence to push forward today. It’s fantastic after a pretty unlucky first race when we have the pace, I wasn’t expecting to have such a great end to the day.
“I got a good start again, a good launch, then managed to get the tyres switched on right away and it looked like Adam (Morgan) was struggling a little bit to start off with, so I just took advantage and hung on to it for the rest of it.
“I was just focussing on the track, getting the lines right and placing my car. Adam definitely had the pace on me towards the end. His car was probably set up to work in the second half of the race and mine was for the first half. All I had to do was focus. He gave me a good old push for the last few laps but thankfully I just held on.”
Adam Morgan was pleased with second and now sits seventh in the championship whilst Turkington was delighted with third.
Sutton was left somewhat frustrated with fourth, but it is a result that all but sees him crowned the independents champion.
Butcher finished fifth with Cammish sixth and Josh Cook seventh.
Ingram limped home in eighth whilst Jake Hill rounded out a solid day in ninth with Aiden Moffat ending the day in 10th.
Senna Proctor completed a trio of points scoring finishes in 11th with Tom Oliphant 12th and Matt Neal 13th.
Michael Crees leaves Snetterton at the top of the Jack Sears trophy standings as he finished 14th whilst Glynn Geddie rounded out the day in 15th on his return to the championship.
The championship now goes down to the wire with the final three races of this highly competitive and condensed season taking place at the Brands Hatch Indy circuit in just three weeks’ time.
Header image courtesy of BTCC/Jakob Ebrey
By Jordan Hollands