To the casual observer, it might appear that there's only a handful of racing series in the world. F1, NASCAR, maybe WRC. But the true racing fanatic knows there's a lot more than that. There are open-wheel series (such as Indy Car) at different levels in countries around the world. There's motorbike racing, ice racing, truck racing, and, of course, there's touring cars.
The European equivalent to stock cars, touring cars account for some of the most down-to-the-wire, wheel-to-wheel racing action known to man, from DTM in Germany to V8 Supercars in Australia. But this weekend's season-opener in the British Touring Car Championship was about as nail-biting as it comes.
The race at Croft Circuit in North Yorkshire this weekend was punctuated by intermittent rain as various drivers in the expanded field opted for different tire choices. Some went for rain tires, some went for slicks, but Mat Jackson, piloting a Ford Focus, put slicks on the driving wheels up front and wets on the rears. After a mid-race accident, the safety car was withdrawn as the track began to dry and Jackson's gambit paid off as he climbed up the field.
With just a few laps to go, Jackson climbed up to fourth behind Jason Plato (he of Fifth Gear fame) in the Chevy Cruze, Rob Collard in the BMW 3 Series and two-time series champion Matt Neal in the Honda Civic. Jackson picked his way past Plato and then past Collard, but coming down the front straight to the finish line it was as close as it gets: a photo finish of 0.055 seconds. So which Matt took the win? Follow the jump to find out, and in the process witness some of the closest racing action you'll ever see.