Ant Whorton-Eales has got his Renault UK Clio Cup title challenge back on track with a storming drive to victory in the opening race at Thruxton.
After seeing one of his race wins from Donington Park last time out taken away post-race, Whorton-Eales hit back in perfect style in Hampshire – with a quick start key to his success.
The JamSport Racing ace stormed from fifth on the grid to second off the line, with poleman Mike Bushell holding the lead until the complex, when Whorton-Eales swept past.
The new leader quickly established a lead of a second and a half over the first few laps, whilst behind, Lee Pattison and Josh Price quickly worked their way past Bushell.
In fact, the poleman was shuffled back to seventh at the end of lap two, but got back ahead of Anton Spires and Paul Plant before the safety car emerged due to a heavy accident for Dan Zelos.
The Ciceley Motorsport man was running in eighth when a tangle with Plant sent him into the Allard tyre barriers, continuing his torrid start to the campaign.
The safety car interlude cut Whorton-Eales’ lead, and after the restart a five car battle developed for the top spot, with Pattison, Price, Paul Rivett and Bushell in close pursuit.
A developing fuel surge problem for Pattison though left him vulnerable around the back of the circuit, with Price and Rivett getting ahead on consecutive laps at Church.
The top two quickly broke clear of the pack behind however, and Price was closing right onto the tail of the leader when the red flag came out to bring the race to a premature conclusion.
The reason was a collision between Plant and Luke Kidsley at the final chicane that left them both stranded in the tyre barriers – securing Whorton-Eales his second win of the campaign.
Whorton-Eales said: “That’s probably the best start I’ve made in a race and, even better, the others behind me kept fighting which enabled me to make the break and break the tow to them. It worked perfectly for me.”
Price secured his maiden Clio Cup podium finish in second, with Bushell completing the podium after getting ahead of Rivett at Church on the penultimate racing lap.
“I’m very happy with that result – I’ve felt it’s been coming for some time,” added Price, who took the Graduate Cup win for the race.
“It’s a shame we didn’t have a few more laps, though – I was catching Ant and Bushell was catching me. It could have been very interesting.”
For Rivett, fourth marked his first non-podium finish of the season so far, with Pattison and Spires completing the top six – the latter’s best result of his maiden campaign to date.
Team Pyro duo David Dickenson and Senna Proctor were next up ahead of Max Coates and George Jackson, with Jake Giddings taking eleventh on his return to the series.
Full race results can be found here.