Alex Denning made it two successive wins in the Quaife MINI CHALLENGE with a lights-to-flag victory in the opening race of the weekend at Snetterton.

Having grabbed his maiden pole position in qualifying, Denning was able to hold his position at the start of the race to lead Sam Weller into turn one and would remain out front throughout.

Surviving an early safety car period after Lydia Walmsley spun into the barriers at turn one, Denning was able to keep Weller at bay when the points leader put him under pressure in the closing stages.

Denning, who also set the fastest lap, was more than a match for Weller however as he took victory by eight tenths of a second – adding to his win in race three last time out at Knockhill.

“It’s a much nicer feeling to take the win under full race conditions,” he said, after the Scottish win came under a safety car. “Sam was pushing me hard and I was glad to see the chequered flag! His car seemed to cope with the temperatures better than ours and I don’t know what they’re doing, but I wish we did!”

Weller’s run to second allowed him to extend his lead in the points, with the top two able to break away from the fight for third between Lewis Brown and Jack Mitchell.

Mitchell briefly got ahead at the end of the opening lap only for Brown to reclaim the place going into turn one at the start of lap two, and the pair would run together right through to the finish.

It marked a first podium finish of the campaign for Brown, who had endured a tough season after his switch to Graves Motorsport over the winter.

“It feels great to get the podium and huge thanks to the team,” he said. “There was a lot of pressure to get that result and it was close on the last lap. It’s been a long wait – and that’s almost like a win.”

Jason Lockwood took fifth having held the place throughout, despite the best efforts of Max Coates in the early stages.

Coates however would ultimately lose a spot instead to Ronan Pearson as the Knockhill double winner took advantage of the squabble ahead to nip through, having earlier battled his way ahead of Dan Zelos.

Coates and Zelos would cross the line in seventh and eighth spot, with Jack Davidson and Geri Racz rounding out the top ten; the duo having been involved in a three-way fight for the final spots in the top ten with Kyle Reid.

Reid took eleventh spot from Robbie Dalgleish, with the top 15 rounded out by Liam Lambert, Dominic Wheatley and Barry Ward.

With Joe Tanner missing the race through illness, Lambert took top honours in the Directors Cup on his first outing of the season.

“Joe isn’t feeling too good and didn’t take part so I feel like I stole that one from him a little,” he said, “but it’s not a bad start. It’s been tricky after so long out as I haven’t been in one of these for nine months but I’m enjoying it.”