Paul Rivett secured victory in one of the most topsy-turvy Renault UK Clio Cup races in recent memory at Brands Hatch today for his second win of the campaign.
The penultimate race of the campaign also saw the pendulum swing Ant Whorton-Eales’ way in the title battle after Mike Bushell suffered his first retirement of the season.
It took two attempts to get the race underway, with the first running of the race lasting less than three corners before a multi-car incident led to a swift red flag.
The incident started with Charlie Ladell and Ollie Pidgley, with both drivers retiring on the spot alongside series debutant James Grint, while Luke Kidsley called it a day in the pitlane.
On the initial start a slow getaway would drop Bushell from first to fifth through Paddock Hill Bend, and it was only slightly better second time around as he slipped to third.
Whorton-Eales briefly took the lead, but Rivett deprived him of the position after edging his adversary wide coming out of Druids on the opening lap.
Bushell maintained third behind despite a couple of wide moments at Hawthorns and Clearways, but that would soon be the least of his worries as the safety car emerged at the end of lap two.
That came to ensure the safe recovery of Paul Streather’s stricken Clio, whilst also allowing the marshals to repair the tyre barriers at Hawthorns following an off for David Dickenson, who would eventually retire.
It was at the same corner next time around that Bushell’s race would come to an end, with some exuberant tyre warming on a greasy track resulting in a spin into the gravel trap.
From that point, a race win or second position with the fastest lap would have been enough to secure Whorton-Eales the title, but that would prove to be an unachievable task.
He gave it his best effort when the action resumed though, with Whorton-Eales sticking to the tail of Rivett at the front as part of a four car train battling for the lead.
The JamSport Racing ace dived to the outside as the duo headed through Paddock Hill Bend on lap eight, but the experienced Rivett was robust in his defence and lost them both momentum.
Josh Price seized the opportunity and stormed down the inside of both to take the race lead, with Rivett slotting into second and Whorton-Eales dropping to fourth behind Lee Pattison.
From then on Whorton-Eales was unable to get back into the fight for the all-important top two positions, with some close battling with Pattison allowing the two ahead to break clear.
Price looked set for his maiden Clio Cup victory until the slightest of mistakes heading into Westfield for the final time saw him run wide, with Rivett needing no clearer invite to snatch the lead.
That earnt the WDE Motorsport ace his 46th career Clio Cup victory, with Price left to settle for a second top two result of the year, while Pattison notched his first podium finish since April.
Fourth for Whorton-Eales means he heads into the final race of the season tomorrow knowing that a podium finish, from second on the grid, would be enough to secure him the crown.
An excellent fifth meanwhile was Senna Proctor, who had been forced to start the race from the pit-lane after encountering problems as the field started their second set of green flag laps.
Rory Collingbourne was another driver to start from the pits and he eventually climbed to tenth behind Max Coates, Chris Smiley, James Colburn and George Jackson.
Dan Zelos survived some wild moments to take eleventh ahead of Paul Donkin and Graham Field, with only thirteen of the original twenty starters making it to the finish.
Full race results can be found here.