Gordon Shedden secured a second consecutive pole position in some of the worst conditions imaginable for motor racing.
The session got underway in soaking wet conditions with Shedden setting the early pace and, despite rear wheel drive cars traditionally struggling in the wet conditions, the Subaru Levorg’s of Colin Turkington and Jason Plato found themselves towards the top of the time sheets.
With drivers struggling to improve on their early lap times, the rain continued to hammer down. Tom Ingram suffered a major setback after failing the ride-height test, meaning that all of his times to that point were deleted. He would eventually set a time good enough for sixth position.
Shortly after this, conditions were deemed to be too dangerous to continue and the session was halted for ten minutes.
Under slightly brighter skies, but still in the extreme wet conditions, the session restarted and Plato instantly found the gravel, although he was able to keep it rolling and recovered back to the track.
With very little improvement being made out on track, the West Surrey Racing BMW’s found themselves right down the order in P26,27 and 28 and this was made worse when water in the electronics forced them to pit.
After the system was fixed, and with just three minutes remaining, they returned to the track but could only manage an out lap. Sunday will be a testing day for the West Surrey Racing Team.
In the last few seconds, the times began to improve with Josh Cook securing an impressive third position behind Shedden and Matt Jackson in the Motorbase Ford.
As Team BMR continue their very public conversation about engine performance with TOCA, Plato and Turkington managed to secure positions four and five on the grid.
Gordon Shedden took a controlled victory in the first British Touring Car race of the day to close the gap on Sam Tordoff in the championship.
After being challenged by Mat Jackson early on in the race, a brief safety car period allowed Shedden to regroup and maintain a lead of around two seconds for the entirety of the race.
Jackson would, just as at Knockhill two weeks ago, go into defense mode for the remainder of the race, Jason Plato and Colin Turkington sticking to the back of the Motorbase Ford.
Plato made a couple of half lunges but Jackson never faltered and held on for a second place finish.
The West Surrey Racing trio of Sam Tordoff, Jack Goff and Rob Collard had struggled with electrical problems caused by the rain in qualifying but they were back on the pace today.
After starting towards the back of the pack, Tordoff managed to grab a top ten finish with his team-mates not too far behind.
Shedden now holds third position in the championship and will look to climb further in race two, despite having the maximum ballast on board.
Sam Tordoff completed an amazing turnaround after starting the first race of the day from 27th, to win the second race of the day at Rockingham.
The West Surrey Racing team had endured a nightmare day on Saturday but enjoyed a brilliant result with Rob Collard joining his team-mate on the podium in P3.
Mat Jackson took the lead early on from Gordon Shedden but the ballast heavy Honda was unable to keep the pace eventually finishing in P10.
Jackson would allow Andrew Jordan, his Motorbase teammate, to pass him and this was an inspired move as Jordan was just about able to hold off Collard for the second spot on the podium.
Aron Smith took a first victory of the season for new boys, Team BKR to break a British Touring Car record, becoming the 12th different winner of the season so far.
In a race that was dominated by safety car periods, two of which that were caused by the other BKR driver, Mark Howard.
As demonstrated in the days earlier races, the hard tyre would be a massive disadvantage and, sure enough, the men with the softer rubber ended up at the front.
Gordon Shedden and Colin Turkington both made the most of this, charging through the field to join Smith on the podium.
Despite coming under pressure from Shedden and latterly Turkington, Smith managed to hold on to record one of his best wins in the championship.
Photo: Team BKR