MINI Challenge

Ant Whorton-Eales Rocks JCW Weekend

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Credit: Dave Young / MINI Challenge UK

You’d be mistaken for forgetting that the MINI Challenge – JCW all ran the same car with the way Ant Whorton-Eales pulled away from the opposition. A perfect weekend for the Jamsport driver ensured he remains untouchable in the championship.

His closest competitor appeared to be Jordan Collard, who recorded a fourth and second place. The Ginetta Junior graduates podium came in the second encounter where Nathan Harrison also put in a stunning drive to take a podium after starting 28th.

The other podium finishers came in the opening event, with Luke Reade beating Calum King, though neither driver score in the second event. Collard himself came out as top rookie.

Qualifying

Pole: Ant Whorton-Eales – Jamsport

It would be Ant Whorton-Eales who took the second pole position of the year. The championship leader set his overall pole time on his third lap, with the opposition unable to find an answer in a damp session. With the weather having effected the running all day, it was expected the track would get faster, but with the water not clearing the Jamsport entry made the most of his clear run.

He was joined on the front row by Nathan Harrison as the only driver to get within half a second of Whorton-Eales. The second row was filled by James Gornall and Luke Reade as Ollie Pidgley put in an impressive run to go fifth.

Jordan Collard was the standout rookie at Rockingham (Credit: Dave Young / MINI Challenge UK)

Race 1

Winner: Ant Whorton-Eales – Jamsport

Ant Whorton-Eales made a typically fast start away from the line, but was unable to pull away as Paul Bell and Nathan Harrison’s incidents resulted in the safety car as the former was beached in the gravel. Whorton-Eales though was not prepared to back out, pulling away at the restart.

Behind him, the battle for third saw Calum King scythe past Ollie Pidgley, though failed to break away. King wanted to set off after Luke Reade, but the chasing pack was not prepared to let him get away, with Jordan Collard and Rob Smith joining the battle for the podium.

At the front, Whorton-Eales took an easy victory, with Reade crossing the line in a lonely second place. Despite a late charge by Collard who took the fastest lap, it was King who completed the podium. Smith followed Collard over the line with Pidgley and Lawrence Davey rounding out a close top seven from Henry Neal.

Race 2

Winner: Ant Whorton-Eales – Jamsport

Henry Neal had been due to start on pole, but pulled off before the start. Ant Whorton-Eales put in a blistering start to take third by Deene from eighth and the lead by the end of the opening lap.

He would be forced to back off though with a safety car called for Brad Hutchinson, who had been spun into the outside wall at the opening corner. Rob Smith inherited second.

It wasn’t long before the race came to a complete stop as for cars were caught out by the turn one bump, spinning into the barrier. The race was red flagged as the track was cleared.

On the restart, Whorton-Eales led the field away as expected, with Smith finding himself under increasing pressure from Jordan Collard and Lewis Brown. The three tussled over second place as Collard’s bold move into Tarzan saw him come out on top.

Whorton-Eales took the flag with Collard four seconds back. The drive of the day though went to Nathan Harrison, with the Excelr8 Motorsport driver jumping twenty-five places to collect a late podium. Behind, Brown and Smith rounded out the top five with Ollie Pidgley in sixth.

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