Turkington made another scorching getaway and led the early stages until Plato slipped through a narrow gap at Brooklands once again to seize a lead he wouldn’t relinquish.
Plato’s MG was on the harder of the Dunlop tyre compounds for this race, and was also carrying around a full 46kg of success ballast, but he managed to resist his title rival’s persistent attacks.
Turkington’s BMW was fitted with the softer rubber – which all drivers must use once during the race meeting – and he began to fall away from Plato in the closing stages.
Third place fell to Menu, who overhauled a fading Jackson in the second half of the race, attacking the Focus through Copse and completing the move at Becketts. Jackson just fended off Menu’s team-mate Smith for fifth.
The race was called to a halt one lap early after a monumental accident involving Turkington’s team-mate Rob Collard, who clipped the out-of-shape Ford Focus of Jack Clarke and was pitched into a barrel roll at 90mph. Collard was taken to hospital for precautionary checks after the incident.
Former champion Fabrizio Giovanardi was drawn on pole position for the random reversed-grid race three, but the start was delayed when Sam Tordoff’s MG was pushed away from its front-row grid slot after it sprang an oil leak.
Giovanardi led away, but before the end of the opening lap his Airwaves Racing Ford Focus team-mate Mat Jackson slipped ahead.
After a short safety car period to clear the debris from a first-lap incident, Jackson made good his escape at the front, while Smith worked his way past Giovanardi and set off in pursuit.
The Italian had a queue of cars including Turkington, Menu and Plato – the latter now on the soft tyres – on his tail, but managed to keep them at bay for lap after lap. Turkington – with one eye undoubtedly on the championship positions – looked wary of committing to an overtaking attempt lest he get compromised at lose place and points to his pursuers.
The battle came to a head in the closing stages, as Turkington finally found a tiny gap to slot his BMW alongside Giovanardi through Brooklands, but the Italian fought back to reclaim the place.
The pair rubbed doorhandles and slowed each other up, giving Menu and Plato the opportunity to close in. Under braking for Becketts, Plato gave Turkington a small nudge which sent the BMW into the side of Giovanardi, who was pitched into a half spin.
Somehow, Turkington emerged in third place ahead of Plato and Menu as the Italian fell back to 12th position and reigning champion Andrew Jordan slotted in to sixth.
Up at the front, Jackson stroked home 2.7sec ahead of Smith to record his second win of the season.
The weekend’s results mean Turkington takes a 50-point advantage into the final three races of the season at Brands Hatch on October 11/12.
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