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Tom Onslow-Cole holds off charging Gordon Shedden in race one

Sunday, June 06 2010

Team Aon's Tom Onslow-Cole fended off strong pressure from Honda Racing's Gordon Shedden and WSR BMW's Rob Collard to steer his Ford Focus to victory in race one from the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park today (Sunday).

Onslow-Cole made a strong start but his early advantage was erased when the safety car was deployed on lap three after Shaun Hollamby's AmD VW Golf pitched Matt Hamilton's Honda Civic into the gravel trap at Knickerbrook. Hollamby limped back to the pits with a bent steering arm but later managed to rejoin the race, albeit six laps down.

Gordon Shedden also made a solid start to maintain his second place off the line - breaking the Oulton Park lap record in the process - whilst Rob Collard charged past the Silverline Chevrolets of Alex MacDowall and Jason Plato before the end of the second lap.

At the restart, Tom Onslow-Cole held his position as Shedden and Collard became locked in a battle for second position. The duo went side-by-side several times, even threatening Onslow-Cole on occasion, but Collard was ultimately unable to pass his Scottish rival.

"It was a tight race as Gordon really didn't let up - I was quite lucky that Rob was also there pressuring him!" said Onslow-Cole. "However I was pleased to have held on to the win as it's a great result for the team."

Jason Plato was denied fourth place after he became involved in a controversial clash with the Airwaves BMW of Mat Jackson on lap 15.

Jackson pressured Plato during the closing stages of the race and attempted to overtake his Chevrolet nemesis several times, making contact with him on his final effort and pushing Plato across the grass. Plato recovered but ultimately crossed the line in tenth place.

Tom Chilton had a quietly consistent run to fifth position ahead of Jackson's Airwaves BMW team-mate Steven Kane, who made up five places during the BTCC's first outing of the day.

Chevrolet's Alex MacDowell slid down the order to finish seventh after starting fourth on the grid, with Honda Racing's Matt Neal crossing the line a disappointing eighth - although the result is enough to give Neal a two point lead over Jason Plato at the top of the points standings. The Triple Eight Vauxhall Vectra of James Nash clinched ninth place.

In addition to Matt Hamilton, there were retirements for David Pinkney's Vauxhall Vectra, which experienced power steering failure, and Special Tuning UK's Tom Boardman, whilst the Pirtek Racing Vauxhall Vectra of Andrew Jordan was forced into the pits after four laps due to falling oil pressure. Jordan will miss race two whilst the team performs an engine change - just 24 hours after the youngster missed qualifying for the exact same reason.

The Sunshine.co.uk Honda Integra of Paul O'Neill failed to start race one after mechanical issues in qualifying forced the team to undertake a late gearbox change.

Race two gets underway at 2.30pm with Tom Onslow-Cole starting from pole position.

Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship, Oulton Park, race one:

1. Tom Onslow-Cole (Team Aon Ford Focus), 17 laps
2. Gordon Shedden (Honda Racing Honda Civic), +0.348s
3. Rob Collard (WSR BMW 320si), +1.173s
4. Mat Jackson (Airwaves BMW 320si), +2.097s
5. Tom Chilton (Team Aon Ford Focus), +2.862s
6. Steven Kane (Airwaves BMW 320si), +3.464s
7. Alex MacDowall (Racing Silverline Chevrolet Cruze), +5.120s
8. Matt Neal (Honda Racing Honda Civic), +6.090s
9. James Nash (Triple Eight Vauxhall Vectra), +6.330s
10. Jason Plato (Racing Silverline Chevrolet Cruze), +11.629s

Raceday tickets for the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Oulton Park today (Sunday 6 June) cost £29 on the gate for adults, with free entry for children aged 12 and under. For more information call 0870 950 9000 or click on the link below.