Renault UK Clio Cup championship leader Ant Whorton-Eales has praised his SV Racing team after they got him back on track after a big qualifying crash at Croft last weekend.
On his first flying lap of the session around the North Yorkshire circuit, a wide exit to the high-speed chicane led to Whorton-Eales spinning across the track and into the barriers.
Ending his session on the spot, the incident left him at the back of the grid for both races, and gave his team a full front-end rebuild to complete in the four hour gap before the opening race.
The team managed just that with minutes to spare and Whorton-Eales went on to reward their efforts with two fantastic drives through the field to seventh and third place finishes, helping him retain his, albeit smaller, points lead.
“I can’t thank the team enough for the work they’ve done over the weekend. The set-up felt great on the car in both races, which is incredible considering it had been in a big crash in qualifying,” Whorton-Eales told TCF.
“I hadn’t even hit the wall in quali before I thought ‘this is it for the championship lead’. You’ve got that split second as your sliding towards the wall and I thought that it was going to be my weekend over.
“Luckily Renault supply a good parts truck with everything on that we needed, we pieced her back together and she went quite well. I’m delighted.”
It wasn’t just the SV Racing team helping Whorton-Eales back on track though, with a number of personnel from other teams in the Clio Cup paddock sparing their time and resources to help the championship leader.
“The atmosphere in the championship this year is far better than in previous years, and there were teams coming in to us and offering tools, equipment and mechanics to help us get the car together,” Whorton-Eales enthused.
“There’s some teams in this paddock that are real genuine people who really want to get everyone on the grid, so I’ve really got to thank them for their help.”
With the Clio Cup not present at the next TOCA round at Snetterton, there is now a seven week gap until the next rounds at Knockhill – time Whorton-Eales says will be spent getting the car back in shape ahead of what he anticipates will be a hard-fought end to the title fight.
“We’ve got to go and rebuild the car now, get it back to being a top spec Clio and go to Knockhill, put our foot down and try to build this lead,” he concluded.
“I’m wary of all the drivers behind me, not any one in particular. This is the Clio Cup, the best, closest one-make championship in the country, these are top drivers who really know how to drive and I’m expecting it to be a real fight over the second half of the season.”