Dan Cammish secured his second victory of the season in the opening race at the Brands Hatch GP round of the British Touring Car Championship.
Pole-sitter Rory Butcher started well as he kept the lead into Turn 1 and beyond, whilst his team-mate Oli Jackson was pushed wide by Cammish against the wall before Turn 1.
Reigning champion and championship leader Colin Turkington, who held a 60 kg ballast, made the most of their scrap to jump into third place.
His BMW team-mate Tom Oliphant dropped down to 15th as he went off-track in sector 2 as he tried to defend from Josh Cook.
Previous race winner Ash Sutton gained four places on lap one, whilst Tom Ingram moved up two places having started in P8 in his Toyota Corolla for the Toyota GAZOO Racing UK with Ginsters/Speedworks Motorsport team.
By the second lap, Butcher had a lead of 0.800s ahead of Cammish in P2, as Ingram and Jake Hill battled wheel-to-wheel.
Cook continued to battle with Ingram until ending up wide at Hawthorn Bend, a fast right-hander.
A battle in the midfield broke out with Ingram and Tom Chilton, Sutton, and Senna Proctor who followed behind closely.
Cammish closed onto Butcher, but Cook ended up in the pits after overheating the engine from his trip offroad.
This issue of overheating arose when drivers, clenching in one-another’s slipstream, could not find enough clean air to look after the engine, combined with the high ambient temperatures.
A battle for the lead broke out as Cammish hooked onto the tail of Butcher, allowing Turkington to close behind them.
By lap nine, the top three were covered by nine tenths of a second, with Turkington making his move on Cammish on the next lap, but they weren’t successful enough to get past.
This allowed Butcher to build on his lead to a gap of nine-tenths over P2.
Ingram, Hill and Chilton all engaged in a battle for P5, as Ingram takes on Hill’s older FK2 Civic in his newer Corolla at Surtees.
On lap 13, Aiden Moffat, Sutton’s teammate, collided with veteran Matt Neal at Westfield Bend , bringing out the safety car.
At the restart at the beginning of lap 16, Butcher faced a disastrous restart as he fell victim to a puncture, running wide at Paddock and dropping down the order, with Cammish inheriting the lead.
An intense battle for third position then broke out between Jackson and Ingram, with Chilton joining in on the action, attempting a pass on Ingram.
Cammish secured the win, followed by Turkington and Jackson taking the final step on the podium.
Cammish reflected on the win: “For the team to bounce back, for me mentally to recover, I’m really pleased and so proud of everyone involved.
“What a racecar they gave me and I knew that I pushed Rory earlier on (at the start) and didn’t let him have it easy.
“I had to give him a break in the middle of the race, it was deja-vu coming – it was so hot today.
“The pressure we put on him (Butcher) made him drive the car beyond the limit, I think”, also marking to Butcher’s puncture during Free Practice.
Ingram ended up crossing the line in fourth, ahead of Chilton and Sutton, while Senna Proctor was seventh in his EXCELR8 Motorsport Hyundai.
Oliphant managed to get back up the order to finish eighth, while Stephen Jelley and Jake Hill rounded out the top ten.