WIDNES racer Paul O’Neill stood on the podium in Sunday’s Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship curtain-raiser at Brands Hatch, writes Andrew Simpson.

The Tech-Speed team driver scored points in each of the opening round’s three races, peaking with third position in the day’s finale at the Kent circuit.

It places him sixth in the early season standings.

O’Neill, 31, chased Pirtek Racing’s Andrew Jordan in a Vauxhall Vectra and pole-sitter Matt Neal (Honda Racing Team Civic) off the line at the start of race three.

Behind him the fast-starting Ford Focus of Mat Jackson (Motorbase Performance) and Triple 8 Engineering's James Nash touched coming off the line, allowing Jackson to slot into fourth spot.

He overcame O'Neill on the run to Druids a few laps later and inherited third when Jordan, who had been shadowing Neal, suffered his second front tyre puncture of the day.

Jackson closed on Neal as the race drew to a close, but the Honda held on to win by less than 0.2s.

O’Neill, backed again this season by mobile phone retailer Go Mobile and previous team sponsor Sunshine.co.uk, took third in a Chevrolet Cruze piloted to the championship last season by Jason Plato.

Earlier he finished seventh in the campaign’s first race, later occupying fifth position at the chequered flag in the second.