Renault UK Clio Cup championship leader Ant Whorton-Eales says the Thruxton races went better than he could have expected as he bounced back from a tough qualifying session to post a pair of top four finishes.
Whorton-Eales’ weekend got off to a nightmare start when he was one of two drivers in the field to have lap times removed in qualifying for exceeding track limits, leaving the SV Racing ace in an uncharacteristic seventh and eleventh on the grid for Rounds Three and Four.
The 20 year old bounced back superbly on race day though, quickly assuming fifth at the start of race one, before picking off a couple more opponents around mid-distance to secure a fifth consecutive podium finish of the campaign in third.
Race two saw an even more impressive climb up the order from the fourth year Clio contender, as he went from eleventh to fourth in just two laps. From there, Whorton-Eales hunted down three-time champion Paul Rivett in third, and narrowly missed out on the podium again after a last corner challenge.
“I couldn’t have asked for more from the races really,” Whorton-Eales told TCF. “If someone was to say that you’re going to qualify seventh and eleventh and finish third and fourth, it would have been pretty hard to believe.
“The team have done a great job, the car’s been spot on all weekend and I was able to pick the guys off one by one and come home with some good points.”
Having only finished in the top eight once in four previous Clio Cup races at Thruxton, Whorton-Eales admits he always had damage limitation on my mind for the trip south as he prepares to visit some of his more favourable circuits.
“We’re still leading the championship by th which is the key thing. That was my plan for the weekend knowing that Thruxton isn’t my strongest track at all, we’ve never done well here before,” he added.
“It’s all my strong tracks coming up now, I had a double pole position at Oulton Park last year and was leading race one until I had an off, but came second in race two.
“We’re quick at Oulton and Croft for next month, so we’ll crack on with those and try to build a healthy gap again.”