Ant Whorton-Eales saw his Renault UK Clio Cup title hopes come to an end at Brands Hatch yesterday with a first retirement of the season in the opening race of the weekend.
The Maximum Motorsport ace converted pole position into the early race lead in Kent, but saw contact from Paul Rivett heading into Surtees for the first time cause rear end damage to his fourth-generation Clio.
With his tyre rubbing on bodywork, Whorton-Eales was unable to avoid getting caught up in someone else’s incident heading into Stirlings on the GP loop, with a spinning Paul Streather collecting Whorton-Eales and putting them both out on the spot.
“I got a good start like I always do and was leading into Surtees when Paul [Rivett] got it all wrong and drove flat out into the back of me. That folded the shell into the rear left tyre, which meant that was running on carcass,” Whorton-Eales explained to TCF.
“We carried on and then it all kicked off being me at Stirlings. [Paul] Streather got sent onto the grass, came across the track and took my front end off. When I was in the car it didn’t feel like much, but it was a biggun, it’s done more damage than our big one in qualifying at Croft.”
The retirement, coupled with a one-two finish for the other title contenders Ashley Sutton and Ash Hand, means Whorton-Eales can no longer challenge for the championship in the final race of the season, which he starts from pole position.
“If we’d have won that race, like we had the pace to do, we’d have been right in the hunt for the final race. Instead our title chances are over now, which is devastating,” added Whorton-Eales.
“It’s going to be interesting tomorrow, and we’re going to get the car back out and go for a win from pole position to end the season in style.”