Bushell Takes Crucial Win As Title Rivals Retire

Mike Bushell has returned to the top of the Renault UK Clio Cup championship standings after taking his second win of the season in the opening race at Snetterton – a race that his title rivals Ant Whorton-Eales and Paul Rivett both failed to make the finish of.

Bushell started the race from pole position following a dominant performance in qualifying, but his advantage was threatened as the field headed through Riches for the first time, with fellow front-row starter Luke Kidsley challenging around the outside.

As Kidsley tried to make his move stick in the braking zone for the Wilson hairpin though, slight contact between the two sent the JamSport Racing man spearing off circuit, though he was able to recover in a distant last.

There was a loss of momentum for Bushell as well and Whorton-Eales pounced to grab the race lead, though not without taking heavy contact himself from Rivett, who briefly slotted into second before being forced to pull off into retirement at the next corner with damage.

Whorton-Eales continued in front until the back straight when Bushell used the slipstream to full effect to storm past, and an attempted move back as they headed into Riches on lap two ended with Whorton-Eales sliding wide, allowing Max Coates and Senna Proctor through into Wilson.

As Bushell pulled clear at the front, Whorton-Eales moved back into third at the expense of Proctor on lap three, however his race would come to a premature end soon after as he was ordered to the pitlane to repair damage from the opening lap contact and never returned to the track.

Bushell eventually took the victory by nearly five seconds from Coates, who set the fastest lap of the race to cap off a great drive through from seventh on the grid, and Proctor, who held off late pressure from his Pyro stablemate Josh Price to complete the podium.

Price and Lee Pattison produced two of the drives of the race to climb into the top five at the finish from back in eleventh and twelfth respectively, with their efforts aided by early top six runners Chris Smiley and Anton Spires losing ground as the race progressed.

Also dispatching those two were David Dickenson, who made it four Pyro cars in the top six at the finish, and Dan Zelos, who secured a long-awaited maiden top ten finish in the Clio Cup on home Norfolk tarmac.

Smiley took eighth at the finish on his championship debut, while Spires was classified ninth in the end after Paul Streather was handed a five second penalty for exceeding track limits that dropped him below Spires, George Jackson, Paul Plant and Rory Collingbourne.

Charlie Ladell and Ollie Pidgley were two others to receive track limits penalties, putting them fourteenth and sixteenth respectively – sandwiching another series debutant in Team Cooksport’s Shayne Deegan.

Full race results can be found here.