Colin Turkington converted pole position into his third win of the 2019 British Touring Car Championship season in the opening race at Oulton Park, despite carrying maximum success ballast.
The current points leader scored the only victory of his 2018 title-winning campaign in the second race at the same circuit last year, and he was again comfortable as he took the spoils two seconds clear of runner-up Dan Cammish.
Despite his BMW 330i M sport being laden with the full 54kg of ballast due to his position in the standings, Turkington used the rear-wheel-drive advantage to make a sublime launch and he held first place into Old Hall.
Like his leading BMW team-mate, Andrew Jordan also opted to run the softer compound tyre in the first race and enjoyed a strong getaway from fourth.
As Cammish also got good start, Sam Tordoff faced heavy pressure into Turn 1 from second on the grid.
Team Dynamics driver Cammish slid through on the inside and Jordan hung on around the outside to relieve Tordoff of third.
That allowed Turkington breathing space early on and he finished the first lap with a 0.9s cushion.
A run of fastest laps from Cammish brought that down to 0.5s as the soft tyres appeared to wear for Turkington.
But the double Donington Park winner was then given respite after a strange component failure for Matt Neal brought out the safety car.
At the apex for the fifth-gear Druids corner, the front-left wheel on Neal's Honda Civic Type R came off and he careered into the tyre wall.
The race was extended by the maximum three laps up to 18 as a result of the delay, and Turkington continued unchallenged as the race resumed.
After the first flying lap, Turkington was almost 0.8s to the good over Cammish and slowly stretched that to 2.021s at the chequered flag.
Cammish remained clear for second, while Jordan rounded out the top three - the first time he's been on the podium in 2019 aside from his four wins.
Rory Butcher overhauled his AmD Tuning team-mate Tordoff for fourth with Tom Oliphant a close-run sixth.
The Toyota Corolla of Tom Ingram was seventh, with a battered Ashley Sutton claiming eighth late-on.
Sutton had started 13th in his Subaru Levorg and made swift progress through the pack, but while battling Jason Plato for eighth at Island Bend, Ingram knocked Sutton wide.
With Plato on his outside they touched and Sutton took to the grass and dropped to 10th.
In a bid to recover he clattered into the back of Adam Morgan under braking and the suspension damage proved to be terminal for the Mercedes A-Class.
Sutton turned in an incisive overtake under braking for the hairpin to depose Plato on the penultimate lap.
After an engine problem in qualifying, Josh Cook - second in the points ahead of the race - made progress from 22nd to 18th.
Ex-Formula 1 driver Mark Blundell retired when his Audi S3 overheated - he had run over the grass and clogged the radiator in a scrap with Rob Smith.
Results - 18 laps
|2||Dan Cammish||Team Dynamics||Honda||2.021s|
|4||Rory Butcher||AmD Tuning||Honda||7.222s|
|5||Sam Tordoff||AmD Tuning||Honda||7.613s|
|7||Tom Ingram||Speedworks Motorsport||Toyota||8.957s|
|8||Ash Sutton||BMR Racing||Subaru||9.612s|
|9||Jason Plato||Power Maxed Racing||Vauxhall||10.654s|
|10||Ollie Jackson||Motorbase Performance||Ford||12.293s|
|11||Stephen Jelley||Team Parker Racing||BMW||12.783s|
|12||Tom Chilton||Motorbase Performance||Ford||13.862s|
|13||Jake Hill||Trade Price Cars Racing||Audi||15.696s|
|14||Jack Goff||Team Hard||Volkswagen||16.147s|
|15||Rob Collard||Power Maxed Racing||Vauxhall||16.390s|
|16||Chris Smiley||BTC Racing||Honda||17.173s|
|17||Josh Cook||BTC Racing||Honda||18.631s|
|18||Aiden Moffat||Laser Tools Racing||Mercedes||19.607s|
|19||Bobby Thompson||Team Hard||Volkswagen||20.358s|
|20||Carl Boardley||Team Hard||Volkswagen||21.070s|
|21||Daniel Rowbottom||Ciceley Motorsport||Mercedes||21.655s|
|22||Senna Proctor||BMR Racing||Subaru||22.031s|
|23||Nicolas Hamilton||Motorbase Performance||Ford||22.912s|
|24||Matt Simpson||Simpson Racing||Honda||23.172s|
|25||Rob Smith||Excelr8 Motorsport||MG||25.053s|
|26||Sam Osborne||Excelr8 Motorsport||MG||32.739s|
|27||Michael Crees||Team Hard||Volkswagen||34.816s|
|-||Mark Blundell||Trade Price Cars Racing||Audi||Retirement|
|-||Adam Morgan||Ciceley Motorsport||Mercedes||Retirement|
|-||Matt Neal||Team Dynamics||Honda||Retirement|