Colin Turkington was handed a surprise bonus long after a frenetic British Touring Car Championship meeting at Snetterton on Sunday had ended.
Turkington left the Norfolk circuit believing he had retained his championship lead with a fifth and two second places in the three bruising races.
But late in the evening the stewards excluded race three winner James Nash for his part in a major accident which left the BMWs of Rob Collard and Turkington’s RAC team-mate Stephen Jelley heavily damaged.
Turkington, who had crossed the finish line on the tail of Nash’s Chevrolet, was then promoted to first place — his sixth win of the season.
The Portadown driver now leads the BTCC series by 17 points from reigning champion Fabrizio Giovanardi but third-placed Matt Neal has dropped a further 29 points behind after a disappointing Snetterton weekend.
However, Turkington is not ruling him out of the fight for the title.
“I was happy with my results even before the bonus of the extra win, particularly considering I was spun around and out of the lead in race one and I never quite perfected the balance of my car,” he said.
“But I think it's too early to call it a two-horse race between Fabrizio and myself. Sure, we've broken away slightly but it can turn around so quickly.
“Just think if I'd not recovered from that spin in race one — there could have been a very different look at the top of the championship now.”
The series continues at Knockhill in Scotland in a fortnight’s time.