But the championship fight between Jason Plato and Fabrizio Giovanardi will go down to the wire as Plato came home third with the Vauxhall driver fifth.
The random grid put Mike Jordan on pole and the Integras driver made a flawless start to hold onto the lead. Matt Neal slotted in behind him, taking second off Adam Jones.
Gordon Sheddon passed Jason Plato at the end of the first lap and took third off Jones on the second tour.
Plato, Jones and Fabrizio Giovanardi then piled into the hairpin three abreast and emerged with Plato leading and Jones squeezing out Giovanardi. Shortly afterwards Jones’s right rear tyre began smoking – probably from rubbing bodywork – and Giovanardi nudged him wide at the hairpin to take fifth.
Up front Neal got a run on Jordan and muscled through to take the lead on lap four. Sheddon took up second behind him on lap seven when he passed Jordan and Plato followed him through as well.
Neal held onto the lead until lap 16 when Sheddon dived through to take the lead. Neal dropped back but Plato wasn’t able to get close enough to pass.
The race settled down, although Sheddon’s lead was suddenly cut on the penultimate lap and he took the flag less than half a second ahead of his team mate.
Plato took a vital third place with Jordan providing a useful buffer between himself and Giovanardi.
Colin Turkington was sixth ahead of Darren Turner, ahead of Jones who had run wide on lap nine. Mat Jackson finished ninth with Tom Onslow-Cole the final points scorer.