Ash Hand has been awarded his fourth victory in the last six Renault UK Clio Cup races after championship leader Ant Whorton-Eales was handed a post-race penalty following a chaotic second race of the weekend at Oulton Park.
Whorton-Eales got the jump on Hand off the line to take the lead, with the polesitter slipping to third behind his fast-starting Team Pyro team-mate Ashley Sutton, who benefitted from third placed starter Jack Mitchell making a poor getaway.
Hand was quickly under pressure from Paul Rivett on the opening lap as well, however an attempted move at the hairpin left the three-time champion under pressure from Jordan Stilp.
Stilp got ahead of Rivett into the chicane and although the WDE Motorsport man got back ahead at the last corner, Stilp put his 20Ten Racing Clio back in front heading into Old Hall for the second time.
This proved to be key later in the lap as an attempted move for the lead by Sutton around of the outside of Whorton-Eales at Lodge was rebuffed, with a trip across the grass allowing both Hand and Stilp through into the top three.
A sideways moment for Sutton at Cascades one corner later lost him further ground to Rivett and the recovering Mitchell, and the subsequent bunching up of the pack led to a dramatic trip through the chicane, which led to a dislodged tyre stack and damage for Sutton, Rivett, Mitchell and Rory Collingbourne.
The incident ultimately led to Sutton’s retirement with a damaged radiator and a couple of trips through the pitlane for Collingbourne, but Rivett and Mitchell were both able to continue in the thick of a top six battle with Team Cooksport’s Jon Maybin and Charlie Ladell.
This drama had allowed the top three to break away at the front and there was a change for the lead on lap four, Hand getting alongside through the hairpin before making the move stick into the chicane.
Whorton-Eales fought back a lap later though at Cascades, however a late move resulted in contact and a half spin for Hand that dropped him to third behind Stilp. Hand quickly closed back onto the front two, while Maybin, who had got ahead of Rivett on lap five, caught onto the rear of the train.
Hand got back into second place thanks to a little nudge on Stilp’s rear bumper at the hairpin on lap nine, and held that place to the finish with Stilp left to settle for a second podium visit of the campaign so far in third.
Post-race, on-the-road victor Whorton-Eales was handed a time penalty to swap the positions after being deemed to have gained an unfair advantage following their Cascades contact, awarding Hand the victory.
Rivett meanwhile produced some of his trademark defensive driving to nurse his damage strewn Clio home in fifth on the road ahead of Ladell and Mitchell, however this became fourth post-race after Maybin was handed a 9.1 second time penalty.
This dropped the Cooksport man down to seventh at the finish ahead of Dan Holland, the JamSport man gaining a place after Brett Smith was another to receive a post-race reprimand, a one second penalty putting him ninth.
George Jackson completed his first outing with Cooksport in tenth ahead of Rory Green and Tom Grundy, while Mark Howard took the Masters Cup success in thirteenth overall ahead of Graham Field and Collingbourne, who was a lap down after his earlier troubles.
Full race results can be found here.