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Oulton Park BTCC: Aron Smith wins dramatic final race

Aron Smith took his second British Touring Car victory in a dramatic reversed-grid finale at Oulton Park.

The BMR Volkswagen Passat driver started from pole and led throughout, despite never being clear of the battling pack.

A heavy rain shower before the event drenched the circuit, even though the sun was shining by the time the cars lined up, with all but James Cole starting on wet tyres.

Smith initially led Mat Jackson's Motorbase Ford Focus and the fast-starting WSR BMW of Rob Collard, but racing was briefly neutralised on lap one.

Jack Goff and Hunter Abbott clashed at Old Hall and went off, while Matt Neal's works Honda Civic Tourer also crashed at the same corner.

On the first lap of the restart, Jackson ran wide at Cascades and took a trip across the grass. He recovered, but would finish only ninth.

Collard inherited second but then he too ran across the grass at the second chicane, allowing Gordon Shedden's Honda into second.

The top five of Smith, Shedden, Collard, Jason Plato (Triple Eight MG) and Colin Turkington (WSR BMW) all closed up before Plato tapped Collard into a spin at Lodge on lap six of 13.

As Collard recovered to an eventual 11th, Turkington overtook Plato and briefly challenged Shedden for second.

But as the track dried, the BMW started to struggle and, after swapping places with Plato twice, Turkington lost third when the MG nudged him under braking for the Shell Oils hairpin.

NEWS UPDATE: Plato penalised and loses podium

Plato then closed up on Shedden, but ran out of time to overtake, with Smith crossing the line a second ahead of the battling former champions.

Turkington took fourth, while Rob Austin (Audi A4) narrowly held off Sam Tordoff's MG and the BMR Passat of Alain Menu to secure fifth.

Reigning champion Andrew Jordan (Eurotech Honda) had a quiet race, but stayed out of trouble to come home eighth.

Cole was the fastest man on track in the closing stages with his slick tyres and ended up 20th. His United Autosports Toyota team-mate Glynn Geddie finished 12th.

Results - 13 laps:

Pos Driver               Team/Car              Time/Gap
 1. Aron Smith           BMR VW                26m08.776s
 2. Gordon Shedden       Honda                 +0.846s
 3. Jason Plato          MG                    +1.140s
 4. Colin Turkington     WSR BMW               +2.214s
 5. Rob Austin           RAR Audi              +3.273s
 6. Sam Tordoff          MG                    +3.519s
 7. Alain Menu           BMR VW                +4.229s
 8. Andrew Jordan        Eurotech Honda        +5.920s
 9. Mat Jackson          Motorbase Ford        +13.095s
10. Fabrizio Giovanardi  Motorbase Ford        +14.199s
11. Rob Collard          WSR BMW               +16.198s
12. Glynn Geddie         UA Toyota             +22.785s
13. Marc Hynes           MG                    +23.115s
14. Warren Scott         BMR Vauxhall          +24.457s
15. Nick Foster          WSR BMW               +24.589s
16. Martin Depper        Eurotech Honda        +24.949s
17. Adam Morgan          Ciceley Mercedes      +31.521s
18. Jack Clarke          Motorbase Ford        +35.122s
19. Lea Wood             Houseman Toyota       +35.727s
20. James Cole           UA Toyota             +36.689s
21. Simon Belcher        Handy Toyota          +46.062s
22. Ollie Jackson        Welch Proton          +1m00.349s
23. Daniel Welch         Welch Proton          -2 laps

Retirements:

    Hunter Abbott        RAR Audi              5 laps
    Robb Holland         Rotek Audi            3 laps
    Tom Ingram           Speedworks Toyota     0 laps
    Matt Neal            Honda                 0 laps
    Jack Goff            BMR Vauxhall          0 laps
    Chris Stockton       BTC Chevrolet         0 laps
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