In the opening race Matt Neal claimed the 60th BTCC victory of his career in his Halfords Yuasa Racing Honda Civic. It was a weekend of milestones for the tall Midlander – during qualifying on Saturday he claimed his first BTCC pole position in nearly five years by setting a qualifying lap record around the Hampshire speedbowl.
His Halfords Yuasa Racing team-mate Gordon Shedden qualified second fastest, just 0.035sec in arrears despite carrying 75kg of success ballast aboard his Civic.
Jack Goff (Eurotech Racing) completing the Honda rout in third, with championship leader Tom Ingram (Speedworks Motorsport Toyota Avensis) fourth on the grid for the first race of the weekend.
Come Sunday’s opening race, Neal put in a faultless performance to lead from lights-to-flag. He kept Shedden and Goff at bay and looked after his car and - crucially - tyres around the notoriously abrasive and demanding circuit. Neal's 60th BTCC victory drew him level with 1980s legend Andy Rouse in second place in the all-time race winners' list - only Jason Plato has more.
While the top of the order remained fairly static, the fight for position in the lower half of the top ten was rather more fraught. Fifth place was initially held by Rob Austin (Handy Motorsport Toyota Avensis), but he was deposed by Adam Morgan (Ciceley Motorsport Mercedes-Benz A-Class), Ash Sutton (Adrian Flux Subaru Racing Subaru Levorg), Colin Turkington (Team BMW M125i M Sport) and Mat Jackson (Team Shredded Wheat with Duo Racing Ford Focus).
Behind Austin, Rob Collard rounded out the top ten in the second Team BMW M125i M Sport. The Hampshire-based driver qualified a lowly 18th, but used his rear-wheel-drive BMW to good effect to surge up to 12th at the end of the opening lap.