The race was punctuated by a violent crash between Darren Turner and Matt Allison, but both drivers were uninjured.
Colin Turkington once again sprinted ahead with a scintillating start while Plato got ahead of Giovanardi. At the end of the first lap Matt Neal dived past Tom Chilton to take fourth.
That became third straight away as Plato dived into the pits to serve a drive-through penalty after one of his mechanics had worked on the after the cut-off period on the grid.
Giovanardi was now able to hassle Turkington and passed him on the way into Church. Turkington slithered wide and Neal, Chilton, Allison and Turner all passed by.
But the latter two didn’t make it much further. They crashed very heavily on lap seven at Campbell – Turner blaming Allison’s team mate Gareth Howell for the crash. It brought out the safety car – which was great news for Turner’s team mate Plato.
The race got going again after three laps with both Vauxhalls ahead of Neal and Howell. Mike Jordan passed Turkington who came under threat from team mate Tom Onslow-Cole.
Howell’s race ended on lap 12 which meant Plato had arrived in seventh behind Onslow-Cole. Three laps later Plato took the position at Campbell.
With three laps to go Neal tried to pass Chilton on the outside approaching the last chicane but had to drop back again. He tried the same move again next time around and pulled it off, then chased Giovanardi across the line on the final lap.
Giovanardi took his fourth win of the year, giving him more wins than any other driver. Plato, sixth, did the best he could in a race which had turned into a damage limitation exercise.