Andrew Jordan won the second race of the day at Snetterton in Norfolk after one of the most action-packed Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship races of the season so far.
Matt Neal drove a fantastic tactical race to finish second from ninth on the grid ahead of the ever-improving Airwaves Racing Ford Focus of Aron Smith, who took the first podium of the season for the Motorbase-run squad.
MG KX Momentum Racing’s Jason Plato looked to have the pace early on, taking the lead off the line and pulling over a second on the fast-starting eBay Motors BMW of Colin Turkington by over a second on the first lap alone. Plato’s team-mate and race one winner Sam Tordoff slotted into third, but looked to struggle slightly with maximum success ballast on board. As the race went on Tordoff yo-yoed up and down the order as cars around him were involved in bumper-to-bumper action, but on the penultimate lap he made a mistake at Montreal and spun off the track. He eventually crossed the line in 18th, making race three a tough prospect.
An incident between three of the Jack Sears Trophy contestants on the second lap that left Liam Griffin in the gravel at turn one brought out the safety car, and shortly after the race resumed Plato slowed and retired to the pits with an engine issue. The retirement threw the race for the lead wide open, as Colin Turkington failed to break away from the chasing pack.
A cut and thrust battle ensued behind Turkington between two Honda Civics, as Jordan made a bold lunge past the Honda Yuasa Racing driver Gordon Shedden into Montreal hairpin. Shedden got back by Jordan on the same lap, but amongst the side-by-side action he had contact with another car and dropped back a few places. Free from the attentions of Shedden, the Pirtek Racing Civic of Jordan then set off in hot pursuit of the leading pair. On lap seven Jordan made his move on Tordoff at Agostini, and using his Dunlop SportMaxx soft tyre to full effect quickly closed the gap on Turkington.
The #29 BMW 125i M Sport proved a tougher challenge for Jordan to pass, and it eventually took an unfortunate coming together going onto the back straight that forced Turkington wide for Jordan to take the lead. From then on Jordan wasn’t troubled by the cars behind and crossed the line almost three seconds clear of the pack. After the race he said, "It was a frenetic race. Colin was driving very very well, defensively but fair, and then he made a little mistake. I put my car up the inside - he closed me down a little bit and I couldn't go anywhere else. It was a great race and a good win, but typical of Matt Neal to come through to finish second, so I only got a few points back on him. The soft tyre ran really well during the recent test days so we thought we'd take the gamble to run them in the second race and it worked perfectly."
The second placed finisher remained uncertain until the final lap, as the two Airwaves Racing cars did their best to hold off the attentions of the Honda Yuasa Racing pair. Neal, who has so far struggled this weekend, looked more comfortable throughout the race and was able to make an impressive move past Mat Jackson at the end of the Bentley Straight.
This left Jackson vulnerable to attack from the opportunistic attentions of Shedden, who pounced at the Bomb Hole to take fourth, before further incident dropped the reigning champion to seventh over the line.
Aron Smith, also running on the soft tyre, put up a heroic defence of second place. On the final lap, however, he had to give best to a carefully orchestrated move from Matt Neal that began at Montreal and was completed on the entry to Palmer. Still delighted with the result, Smith said, "Airwaves Racing is back! The first podium is huge for us. I am delighted for the team as they’ve worked so hard – it has been an unbelievable effort from everyone. I just knew the car was quick after our recent testing so to be back fighting with the big boys feels great." It is by far the strongest result for both drivers in 2013 as Jackson crossed the line just behind Smith in fourth.
Lea Wood took his second Jack Sears Cup of the day to extend his lead in the standings to four. Despite the fact that his main rival Griffin was out of the running, Wood drove an impressive race to finish 13th overall.