David McCullough comfortably booked his place in the Walter Hayes Trophy semi-final after taking victory in the Last Chance race at Silverstone.
The Van Diemen driver got off the line from pole position and was barely challenged throughout as he led home a frantic scrap for the remaining steps on the podium by nearly three seconds.
Belgian teenager Michelangelo Amendola staved off a spirited attack from Jaap Blijleven to finish runner-up, with the Dutch veteran third.
McCullough shot off the line and built a commanding 1.5s lead over Ben Tinkler’s Reynard and Peter Daly, who pulled off an audacious move round the outside of Nigel Dolan’s Van Diemen at Brooklands.
Both Daly and Tinkler fell back as Amendola began to move forward.
The 16-year-old from Ghent opportunistically dived down the inside of Dolan under braking from Brooklands to take second, while Blijleven followed suit on the next tour. Blijleven then made a concerted effort to get past Amendola in the closing stages; the pair twice ran side-by-side through the complex, with Amendola just keeping the place at the line.
Tinkler had dropped as low as fifth, but he set fastest lap of the race to finish just off the podium. Behind, Dolan completed the top five ahead of Adam Quartermaine and Richard Davison.
Paul Mason was the best of the Swifts in eighth while Todd Willing and Neil Broome rounded out the top 10.
With the top 19 proceeding to the semi-finals, Jack Clayton lead Mark Armstrong as the last of those to progress.
Progression race winner Westie Mitchell finished 21st in his Merlyn.